LABOR PARTICIPATION RATE REMAINS NEAR 30-YEAR LOW
The American economy added 155,000 jobs in December – roughly the same number it added in November. Unfortunately the nation’s labor participation rate remained stuck at 63.6 percent - just 0.1 percent above a three-decade low (recorded in August). By contrast, the labor participation rate stood at 65.7 percent when Obama took office in January 2009.
Factoring in these new jobs, the nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.8 percent. Meanwhile the underemployment rate – a broader, more accurate measure of joblessness -remained unchanged at 14.4 percent. Why didn’t these rates drop? Because the economy needs to create at least 130,000 jobs a month just to keep up with the growth in population.
In South Carolina the unemployment rate is currently 8.3 percent, while the underemployment rate is 16.3 percent.
Last month’s job growth was good – but not great, which is why it failed to inspire much in the way of confidence on Wall Street. Also we suspect a dismal 2012 holiday shopping season combined with the recently approved New Year’s Day tax hikes should put a damper on hiring in the months to come.