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Good News For 200 Thousand Americans

The most closely watched economic report each month is the Jobs Report, which was just released, and it was good news.  A survey of economists expected 155 thousand jobs were created in December.  Instead, it was 200 thousand.

Most of us were expecting the unemployment rate to increase from 8.6% last month to 8.8% this month, as discouraged workers returned to the labor force.  Instead, last month’s rate was revised upward to 8.7%, and the current rate is 8.5%.

The average number of hours worked per week also increased, as well as average hourly earnings.

The U-6 rate, which includes those workers working part-time because they cannot find full-time work, dropped from 16% to 15.2%, which is a BIG drop.  (This is a better measure of economic distress than the headline number of 8.5%.)

Over the last year, 280 thousand government workers have lost their job, which would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago.

Interestingly, the number of people quitting their job now exceeds the number of people laid-off, which suggests increased confidence among workers that they can find another job.

All-in-all, it was a good day for anybody named Barack and a not-so-good day for anybody named Mitt or Newt or Rick or . . .