The December jobs report is out – and it’s not full of delayed holiday cheer for Americans struggling in this economy.
“Today’s jobs report gave a discouraging update on the health of the economy,” Heritage’s James Sherk, a Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics, tells The Foundry. “Employers added far fewer jobs than expected – just 74,000, well down from the 241,000 jobs added in November.”
While the unemployment rate fell – from 7 percent to 6.7 percent – that’s primarily due to Americans giving up on finding a job.
“A half million Americans left the labor force,” Sherk says. “This continues a long-term trend. While the unemployment rate has dropped sharply over the past year, the employment to population ratio has remained unchanged.”
“The same proportion of Americans have jobs now as did last December,” he adds.
And don’t think people are quitting just because they decided to retire and enjoy their twilight years. “Unfortunately, demographic trends like the ageing baby boomers cannot account for this,” Sherk remarks. “The employment rate of prime aged workers (25-54) only slightly increased (+0.2 points) over the past year.”
Representative Tom Price (R – Ga.) called on Senate Democrats to respond to the dismal jobs report by passing new legislation.
House Republicans “have drafted, debated, and sent multiple bills over to the Senate that would reduce barriers to job creation and promote economic growth – including initiatives to rein in job-destroying bureaucratic red tape and proposals to expand energy production,” Price said in a statement.
House majority leader Eric Cantor (R – Va.) also issued a statement urging Senate Democrats to act.
“Senate Democrats have ignored dozens of jobs bills this past year,” he said, “and working middle class families deserve better.”