Jobs Up Sharply in December 2015

The Bureau of Labor has statistics has just published its employment situation report for December, 2015. It found that the number of jobs increased sharply and it also revised the employment situation reports for November and October up:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 292,000 in December, and the unemployment rate
was unchanged at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in several industries, led by professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking places. Mining employment continued to decline.

The unemployment rate was unchanged, suggesting some reentry into the job market.

Well, good.

Average hourly earning were largely unchanged. As I see there are several prospective explanations for that:

  • It may be that the additional jobs are vapor. There’s an enormous amount of adjusting going on here, particularly the “birth/death ratio”.
  • Both employers and employees believe that there are lots more prospective workers out there. No one wants to rock the boat.
  • It might be that December’s jobs numbers are something of a correction, i.e. that businesses had laid too many people off in previous months.

I’m honestly a little surprised, pleasantly so, by this. I honestly don’t know how you reconcile increasing employment with falling expectations for growth.

The increase in temps is concerning and, honestly, an increase in healthcare workers makes me queasy since so much of healthcare spending is provided by tax dollars.

2 comments… add one
  • Ken Hoop Link

    “This is just a small selection of posts. I may go thru the called shot posts at the time of the stimulus, TARP and so on, but heck, they just say the same thing.
    By papering over the problem, by extending and pretended, Bernanke, Geithner, Congress and Obama (Bush gets a nod, but TARP would not have passed without Obama, it is his child) ensured a generation’s worth of shitty economy for most people.
    Yes, if we had chosen not to extend and pretend the hit in 2009 and 2010 would have been worse, BUT the economy today would be far far better. The choice to do bailouts in way they were done was the choice to have a shitty economy. Employment has never recovered as a percentage of the population, and will not (we’re about to hit a recession), wages are down for much of the population and all the gains of the last economic cycle have gone to the top three to five percent.”

  • michael reynolds Link

    There is no rational objective metric by which to judge an economy, only comparisons. So, compared to whom are we doing poorly?

    Put it another way, whose cards would you rather play over the next 10-20 years? Ours or China’s? Ours or Japan’s? Ours or India’s? You could offer Germany, but even there, given the instability in the Euro zone I’d rather play our hand.

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