January 7, 2011
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 9.4 percent in December which is not surprising because of the increase in seasonal workers for the holidays (retail trade employees were up 12,000 in December). But it was not just retail employees that increased. An overall good sign was that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 103,000 in December. Employment rose in leisure and hospitality by 47,000 in December, indicating consumers are not feeling the pinch as much as in previous months and are spending more on discretionary expenditures. Other increases came in health care with 36,000 new jobs, mining added 5,000 jobs and manufacturing added 10,000 jobs but unfortunately construction employment lost 16,000 jobs. Employment changed little in other major industries.
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