U.S. unemployment drops to 9.4 percent

Marketplace Staff Jan 7, 2011
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U.S. unemployment drops to 9.4 percent

Marketplace Staff Jan 7, 2011
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The nation’s unemployment rate fell by nearly half a percent in December. Meanwhile, the Labor Department just moments ago told us businesses and the government only added 103,000 jobs for the month.

Let’s get some analysis this morning from Jill Schlesinger, editor-at-large at CBS/MoneyWatch. She’s with us on Fridays, live from New York. Good morning Jill.

JILL SCHLESINGER: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: Explain to us a little bit about this report. I see a near half-percent drop in the unemployment down to 9.4 percent. Wow, that sounds pretty cool, right? But then we have disappointing job creation numbers. 100,000 — just a little more than that — that don’t quite jibe does it?

SCHLESINGER: No but it makes sense because they’re best on two separate surveys which is why they often diverge. I think the more important number is the job creation number. You know, 104,000 is a disappointment. We need to see over 200,000 jobs a month to put some of these 14.5 million people back to work.

CHIOTAKIS: I was thinking this was gonna be a better report than it was given more optimistic numbers we got earlier in the week.

SCHLESINGER: Yeah, Challenger, Gray and Christmas said layoffs are tapering off and obviously they are. ADP said that they had 297,000 private sector jobs. You know what — that’s not been a very reliable predictor of government numbers and the way they account for seasonal adjustments can often distort the numbers . So I think a lot of people discounted the ADP number. It’s good for a headline, but it doesn’t often jive.

CHIOTAKIS: So we get that headline earlier in the week and then we get today’s official — quote unquote official report from the Labor Department — and people are a little disappointed.

SCHLESINGER: Right, and I think the most important take away here is we still need to see something like 150- 200,000 jobs to move forward in the jobs market.

CHIOTAKIS: Jill Schlesinger at CBS/MoneyWatch. Jill, thanks.

SCHLESINGER: Great to be with you.

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