The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Nonfarm Payrolls, which is one of the most closely followed gauges regarding the state of the economy, was just below the expectations as 157,000 new jobs were created in the month of December. However, the upward revisions to the last two months more than made up for the modest shortfall versus analystsâ?? expectations.
The increase in the number of new jobs was below the consensus estimates for an increase of 167K as well as Decemberâ??s totals.
But as usual, there were revisions to the prior two monthsâ?? reports. Decemberâ??s jobs total was increased to 196K from 155k while Novemberâ??s jobs total was increased to 247K from 161K. The new totals show and additional 127,000 new jobs than previously reported.
The private sector (aka the household survey) showed gains of 166K jobs, which was below this weekâ??s ADP report, which showed that the economy created 192K new jobs in the private sector.
The nationâ??s Unemployment Rate actually rose to 7.9%, which was above the expectations. Recall that Decemberâ??s rate of 7.8% had been near the lowest level of unemployment since December 2008.
The average monthly job creation during 2012 was 151K, which is below the level needed to bring down the Unemployment rate.
Next, the average number of weekly hours worked was reported at 34.4, which was a tenth below expectations for 34.4.
And finally, the average hourly earnings of workers rose by +0.2%, which was in line with the consensus expectations for an increase of +0.2%.
The Nonfarm Payrolls report appears to confirm the notion that the jobs market is continuing to improve slowly. Recall that the ADP report came in above expectations this week.
Stock futures have improved modestly on the news and point to a higher open on Wall Street.
Also on the economic calendar today are reports from Markitâ??s PMI, University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment, Construction Spending, and the ISM Manufacturing Index.
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