Only 74,000 workers were added to nonfarm payrolls in December, according to the report from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, well below the consensus estimate of 197,000. The number represents a sharp decline from November’s payroll figure, which was revised up to 241,000 from 203,000.
Strangely, despite the weak payrolls number, the unemployment rate plunged to 6.7% from 7.0%.
The report said 87,000 workers were added to private-sector payrolls last month, well below the consensus estimate of 200,000, and also well below data released from payroll-processing firm ADP earlier this week, which estimated that 238,000 workers were hired in the private sector in December.
The labour force participation rate fell to 62.8% from 63.0%.
273,000 Americans were unable to work due to bad weather — the highest number since 1977 — during what was the coldest December since 2009 last month.
According to Bloomberg, “Bad weather affects the payroll count if employees didn’t receive compensation for the entire pay period that included the 12th of the month.”
The table below breaks down payroll gains by industry.
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