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First, the polar vortex. Now, a winter jobs swoon!

A man walks by a "now hiring" sign in the window of a fast food restaurant in New York City.

An animated view of the nation's unemployment rate over the past few years.

The Labor Department did the overall economic mood no favors when it released a flat out miserable December unemployment report: Just 74,000 people found work last month.

"What the heck with the 'Spring Swoon' starting in the winter," says Sudeep Reddy, from the Wall Street Journal. "We do know that there were weather effects in this report. We have to be careful not to overstate them, but we can't get too discouraged about a number that looks kinda wacky."

And the unemployment rate dropping to 6.7 percent was not good news because the drop in unemployment was largely due to 347,000 people leaving the workforce, according to the household survey.

"There were a lot of discouraging data points in this," Catherine Rampell, from the New York Times, says. "Just as we kind of thought there was some momentum building ... this sort of puts a damper on things.

"You don't want to put too much weight on it. But if you just take it on its face, it's not good," adds Rampell.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

An animated view of the nation's unemployment rate over the past few years.

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