The U.S. economy added just 74,000 jobs in December, which was much worse than the the 197,000 expected. The November number, however, was revised up to 241,000 from an earlier estimate of 203,000.

Interestingly, the unemployment rate plunged to 6.7% from 7.0% last month. This improvement came as the labour force participation rate fell to 62.8% from 63.0%.

All of this reminds us that the U.S. labour market remains anemic.

Calculated Risk runs a chart every month that puts the current jobs recovery into perspective.

“This graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms, compared to previous post WWII recessions,” writes Bill McBride of Calculated Risk. “The dotted line is ex-Census hiring. This shows the depth of the recent employment recession — worse than any other post-war recession — and the relatively slow recovery due to the lingering effects of the housing bust and financial crisis.”

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