06 January 2012 14:27 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The ?xml:namespace>
Forecasters had been expecting only a marginally better performance in December with perhaps 150,000 new hires.
Economists say that to make any substantial progress in reducing the longstanding high unemployment rate, the economy needs to produce new jobs at or near 300,000 each month for an extended period.
Since August 2011, the unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage points, the department said.
That is not a significant rate of decline, but it is a marked improvement from June 2011 when the jobless rate was still above 9%.
The department said that most of December’s job gains were in transportation and warehousing, retail trade, manufacturing, health care and mining.
With retail trade a major component of December’s employment increase, economists will be watching the department’s jobs report for January 2012 for any indication that the December boost was fuelled in part by temporary workers hired for the year-end holiday shopping season.
If most of those temporary jobs ended with the holidays, January’s employment figures might show another decline when they are issued on 3 February.
Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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