the December 2014 Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the Labor Department, published its monthly Employment Situation for December at 8:30am est.

The report continued the recent string of exceptionally strong results.  The economy added 252,000 new positions (240,000 in the private sector) during December, or +12,000 better than consensus estimates of a 240,000 jobs gain.

Revisions to the two prior months’ data were unusually good, as well.  In its initial update to November data, the BLS now says the US gained 353,000 new jobs that month, +32,000 more than initially thought–even though the initial November figures were a huge positive surprise.  The agency now puts October job gains at +261,000–a boost of another +18,000 positions over its November estimate.

The unemployment rate fell from 5.8% to 5.6%; the number of unemployed fell by 383,000.


No sign of wage increases yet.  Average hourly earnings (now $24.57 for private non-farm workers) are up by 1.7% year-on-year.  Hourly wages fell by a nickel in December, after rising by 6¢ in November.

No sign of net layoffs in energy-related industries, although it may be too soon for this to be happening.  Still, there are no signs that validate the (odd, to my mind) conclusions of statistically-driven economic researcher that a declining oil price is a harbinger of recession.




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