Labor economists, on average, forecasted a gain between 150,000 and 160,000, and no change in unemployment. The rate reported this morning by the U.S. Department of Labor was higher than the November rate initially reported; however, it and a few other months were changed slightly as part of an annual data revision.
The December numbers were substantially below the estimate offered yesterday by ADP and its data partner, Moody’s Analytics. Automatic Data Processing said 215,000 private sector jobs were created during the month. The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which prepares the monthly government report, counted 168,000 new private sector positions.
The BLS also revised up November’s jobs increase from 146,000 to 161,000, while October’s jobs count dropped by 1,000 to 137,000. For the year, job growth averaged 153,000 new non-farm jobs a month, the same as in 2011.
“It’s not a home-run report by any stretch, but it’s constructive,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics. “It’s another month of fairly stable, solid, moderate job creation.”