Jobless rate falls to 8.5 percent(Read article summary)
Employers added 200,000 jobs in the month of December
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Employers addedÂ 200,000 jobs on net last month, while the jobless rate ticked down to 8.5%, according to this morningâ€™s jobs report from the BLS.Â Thatâ€™s a bit better than what was expected, reflecting moderate but broad labor demand across almost all sectors of the private job marketâ€“the public sector continues to be a notable sore spot.
All told, a solid report, with most industries adding jobs, the work week expanding a bit, and the jobless rate revealing a slow but steady trend downâ€“see figure.
With Decemberâ€™s data, we nowÂ have fullÂ year 2011 numbers.Â Payrolls added 1.6 million jobs lastÂ year, the best showing since 2006.Â Private sector payrolls were up 1.9 million, the most jobs added in the private sector since 2005.
In other words, the labor market is improving, and has a bit of trend going for itâ€“employers remain cautiousâ€“hiring canâ€™t be called robustâ€“but it has been slow and steady.
Securing, sustaining, and building on these gains, particularly in the face of economic risk factorsâ€“Europe, oil, fading stimulusâ€“must become theÂ top goal of policy makers who have heretofore been way too cavalier about this primary responsibility.
More to comeâ€¦