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The Bureau of Labor Statistics today reported the December 2014 unemployment rate and job growth number, and the figures surprised many economists.
The US economy added only 74,000 jobs, instead of the 200,000 economists anticipated—making it the lowest job creation in three years. The average growth for the year was 182,000 jobs each month.
The official unemployment rate declined from 7 percent to 6.7 percent, the lowest since October 2008. However, this drop largely reflects people giving up on their job searches, thereby shrinking the size of the labor force. The Associated Press reports that “the proportion of people working or looking for work fell to 62.8 percent, matching a nearly 36-year low.”
However, some economists are attributing this decline in job creation to the cold weather. For instance, there was a 16,000-person decline in construction payrolls. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal notes that “the number of people not reporting to work because of weather conditions was 273,000 in December, according to the survey of households. That was higher than the average of 179,000 for the past 10 Decembers and the highest for that month since 1977.”
Despite the weak jobs report, the information technology job market remains strong. The national IT unemployment rate in December was 3.7 percent, down from 3.8 percent in December 2012.