US Hiring Misfires in December

Employers add fewer than 200K jobs, less than half of expectations
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2022 8:00 AM CST
US Hiring Misfires in December
A hiring sign is displayed outside a retail store in Vernon Hills, Ill., in November.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

The new monthly jobs figures are out for December, and they came in way under expectations. What's more, these stats are pulled from the first half of the month; in this case, that's before the omicron variant began surging in earnest, notes the AP.

  • Hiring: Employers added 199,000 jobs in December, well under expectations of 422,000, reports CNBC. The biggest gains came in the leisure and hospitality sectors, with 53,000 new jobs there.
  • The rate: Despite the missed expectations, the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9% from 4.2%.
  • A record: The monthly figure is also below the 210,000 added in November, though it means that the US added a record number of jobs (about 6.5 million) for all of 2021, notes the Wall Street Journal. Still, the US is nearly 4 million jobs shy of pre-pandemic levels.

  • Perspective: The "job market may be healthier than the modest hiring gain the government reported Friday," writes Christopher Rugaber of the AP. "The aftermath of the pandemic has made the government’s employment figures more volatile, with one month's data often followed by a sharply different trend a month or two later."
  • Another: "The economy right now is in a good spot and is resilient enough to withstand this COVID surge," ZipRecruiter economist Julia Pollak tells the Journal. "We just expect the year to bring a more moderate, sustainable pace of recovery and growth."
(More unemployment stories.)

Get breaking news in your inbox.
What you need to know, as soon as we know it.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.