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Unemployment ticks up to 7.8 percent, 155,000 jobs added

The Labor Department is out with its December jobs report this morning. It shows the economy added 155,000 jobs last month and the unemployment remained steady at 7.8 percent. 

"It's kind of steady as she goes," says Julia Coronado, chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas. "The good news is we didn't see any backing away in hiring because of the fiscal cliff. The bad news is we are not creating enough jobs to bring down the unemployment rate."

According to Chris Low, chief economist at FTN financial, some analysts believe the labor market needs to create 200,000 or more  jobs to keep up with with work force.

"That's what you need so your college kids can get through senior year without freaking out about the job market, that's what you need so that part time workers can find full time work, and that's what you need for employees to have enough leverage to generate some income growth," says Low.

There was at least one bright spot for workers in the jobs report this month. Julia Coronado notes that wage growth appears to be stabilizing after months of downward trends. But, Chris Low argues a wage gain of 2.1 percent, as seen in 2012, isn't much to crow about.

"Two percent means we just barely kept up with inflation, which was also two percent this year," says Low.


Audio Extra: Louis Johnston, chair of the department of economics at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, weighs in the goverment's jobs report and tells us which sectors are performing the best and and which ones are lagging behind.
 

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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