New Jobs Data: 155,000 New Jobs in December, Unemployment Rate Unchanged

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 4 2013 8:40 AM

New Jobs Data: 155,000 New Jobs in December, Unemployment Rate Unchanged

1357306820324

A very in-line-with-consensus-estimates jobs report today as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 155,000 new payroll jobs in December and an unemployment rate holding steady at 7.8 percent. Now that there's no presidential election for a few years we can perhaps stop seeing the monthly jobs numbers as such a political footballl. What we've got here is an economy that just keeps plugging along unremarkably. Which would be great if the background conditions were great, but in fact background conditions were pretty bad so "plugging along unremarkably" leads to a perpetuation of outcomes in which the long-term unemployment situation will probably keep getting worse.

As ever, I exhort people to pay at least as much attention to the revisions to past months' data as to the initial estimate of the most recent month. New information is fun, but accurate information is what matters and it's the revisions that are accurate. October went largely unrevised. We now stand at +137,00 jobs instead of +138,000. But November saw a very nice upward revision to +161,000 from +146,000.

Advertisement

For fans of data revisions—and I know you're out there—next month's report will feature an important re-benchmarking of seasonal adjustment factors that could change the picture a lot.

But until then, make no mistake—this economy is growing and has been growing steadily for months It's not booming and it's not undoing the damage of the prolonged labor market weakspot, but it's definitely growing and the situation is definitely improving. The tragedy is that it isn't improving fast enough to deliver help to the people who need it most. But new people entering the workforce in 2013 are looking at a much brighter situation than the cohorts that came before them in 2012, 2011, 2010, or God help them 2009.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.