The unemployment rate remained flat at 7.8% in December, the Labor Department reported this morning. The monthly jobs report for the end of 2012 found the economy adding 155,000 jobs in December, in-line with the average monthly gains for the year. The economy needs to add 150k-200k jobs a month to keep up with population growth.
12.1 million Americans remain unemployed. 7.9 million people are working part-time because they can’t find full-time work. 2.6 million people are only marginally attached to the labor force. These are discouraged workers who had looked for a job sometime in the past year, but aren’t actively trying to get a job. They aren’t counted in the overall unemployment rate.
November’s initially reported 7.7% unemployment rate was revised up to 7.8%.
The final jobs report of the year reflects an economy that isn’t contracting, but also isn’t growing enough to bring millions of Americans back into jobs or the labor force. This lack of job creation remains the single biggest headwind facing the US economy.