NPR logo 85,000 Jobs Cut In December; Unemployment Rate Unchanged At 10%


85,000 Jobs Cut In December; Unemployment Rate Unchanged At 10%

The nation's jobless rate held at 10% in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported. But employers cut many more jobs than economists expected — 85,000.

We'll pass on more from the report shortly. Hit your "refresh" button to be sure you're seeing our latest additions.

Update at 8:51 a.m. ET. As the Associated Press notes:

The report caps a disastrous year for U.S. workers. Employers cut 4.2 million jobs in 2009, and the unemployment rate averaged 9.3%. That's compared to an average of 5.8% in 2008 and 4.6% in 2007. The economy has lost more than 8 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007.

Update at 8:48 a.m. ET. Though the economy again shed jobs, BLS says the trend shows a sharp decline in the pace of losses:

Job losses continued in construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade, while temporary help services and health care continued to add jobs. During 2009, monthly job losses moderated substantially. Employment losses in the first quarter of 2009 averaged 691,000 per month, compared with an average loss of 69,000 per month in the fourth quarter.

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. While the most recent months may have signaled that the worst is over, these two telling lines from the BLS report underscore how bad things are compared to just a year ago:

— About 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in December, an increase of 578,000 from a year earlier.

— Among the marginally attached, there were 929,000 discouraged workers in December, up from 642,000 a year earlier.

Update at 8:42 a.m. ET. BLS says that:

Unemployment rates for the major worker groups — adult men (10.2%), adult women (8.2%), teenagers (27.1%), whites (9%), blacks (16.2%), and Hispanics (12.9% — showed little change in December.

Update at 8:37 a.m. ET: BLS now estimates that employers added 4,000 jobs in November (previously, it had said there was another slight decline in employment). If that number holds up, it would mark the first month-to-month increase since December 2007 — the month the latest recession began.

Planet Money follows the economy here.