US Economy Adds Just 199,000 Jobs In December, Far Below Expectations

The U.S. economy recorded an increase of 199,000 jobs in December and the unemployment dipped to 3.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 199,000 in December, according to the BLS, and the number of unemployed Americans dipped to 6.3 million. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the economy to add 422,000 jobs in December and for unemployment to fall to 4.1%.

December’s jobs report leaves the U.S. economy with roughly 6.5 million more jobs than at the end of 2020 but still 3.5 million short of pre-pandemic levels.

“The economy right now is in a good spot and resilient enough to withstand this Covid surge,” said Julia Pollak, an economist at jobs website ZipRecruiter, the WSJ reported. “We just expect this year to bring a more moderate, sustainable pace of recovery and growth.”

Payroll firm ADP reported Wednesday that the U.S. economy added 807,000 private sector jobs in December, more than doubling expectations as cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant surge. (RELATED: Americans Ring In 2022 With Highest Mortgage Rates Since The Pandemic Started)

“December’s job market strengthened as the fallout from the Delta variant faded and Omicron’s impact had yet to be seen,” Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, said in the report. “Job gains were broad-based, as goods producers added the strongest reading of the year, while service providers dominated growth.”

Meanwhile, a record 4.5 million workers quit their job in November, an increase from October’s 4.1 million figure, suggesting that workers are still regularly seeking better pay and benefits,  the BLS announced Tuesday.

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