X

We Went From 7.8% to 4.7% Under Obama's Watch

Rate ticked up slightly in December, as expected
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2017 7:55 AM CST

(Newser) – It's the end of an era: The last jobs report that falls fully under President Obama's tenure was issued on Friday, and he'll hand President-elect Donald Trump an economy that boasts a 4.7% unemployment rate. That's a tick up from November's 4.6%, and was expected by economists. The rate stood at 7.8% at Obama's inauguration, and peaked at 10% under his watch. Fewer jobs were added than expected for the month, at 156,000 to the 183,000 the Wall Street Journal had forecast. One rosy note: Hourly pay jumped 2.9% from a year earlier, the biggest increase in more than seven years. The AP sees that as a positive sign that the low unemployment rate is forcing businesses to offer higher wages to attract and keep workers.

story continues below

Sluggish growth in Americans' paychecks has been a longstanding weak spot in the seven-year recovery. For all of 2016, job growth averaged 180,000 a month, down from 229,000 in 2015, but enough to lower unemployment over time. The Journal reports the labor force participation rate has barely budged in a year, with December's 62.7% up only slightly from 62.4% a year prior. That the rate—which indicates how many Americans who can and want to work are working—"remains well below its peaks during better economic times ... [is] a sign that the economy doesn't have enough bodies working to produce strong economic growth," writes Paul Vigna. (Read more unemployment stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X