clear
Friday May 22nd, 2015 12:11PM

US economy adds 74K jobs, rate falls to 6.7 pct.

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. employers added a scant 74,000 jobs in December, the fewest in three years. The disappointing gain ends 2013 on a weak note and could raise questions about the economy's recent strength.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell from 7 percent in November to 6.7 percent, the lowest level since October 2008. But the drop occurred mostly because more Americans stopped looking for jobs. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively searching for work.

Stock futures fell after the report was released.

The slowdown in hiring could cause the Federal Reserve to rethink its plans to slow its stimulus efforts. The Fed decided last month to cut back on its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion. It could delay further reductions until it sees evidence that December's weak numbers were temporary.

Cold weather may have slowed hiring. Construction firms cut 16,000 jobs, the biggest drop in 20 months.

Still, December's hiring is far below the average gain of 214,000 jobs a month in the preceding four months. But monthly gains averaged 182,000 last year, nearly matching the previous two years.

The proportion of people working or looking for work fell to 62.8 percent, matching a nearly 36-year low.

Many industries posted weaker gains or cut jobs. Health care cut 6,000 positions, the first cut in 10 years. That could raise questions about the impact of President Barack Obama's health care reform. Transportation and warehousing cut a small number of jobs, suggesting shippers hired fewer workers for the holidays. Government cut 13,000.

One bright spot was manufacturing. Factories added 9,000 positions, the fifth straight gain. Still, that's down from 31,000 in November. Retailers added 55,000 jobs.

Recent data have painted a picture of an economy on the steady rise. Exports hit a record level in November, lowering the U.S. trade deficit. Businesses have ordered more manufactured goods. Auto sales reached a six-year high in 2013.

Analysts now estimate that the economy expanded at a healthy annual rate of 3 percent to 3.5 percent in the October-December quarter. That's up from earlier forecasts of a 2 percent rate or less. It would follow a strong 4.1 percent growth rate reported for the July-September quarter.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 4 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 4 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Mobile home on Friendship Rd. destroyed by fire
A family of three has been displaced by an early morning fire at their home on Friendship Road in south Hall County.
10:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
Alabama to join 'SEC primary' in 2016 presidential race
Alabama lawmakers have voted to join the ``SEC primary'' as southern states band together to try to get more attention from 2016 presidential hopefuls.
8:01AM ( 4 hours ago )
Boy Scouts' leader says ban on gay adults not sustainable
NEW YORK (AP) — The president of the Boy Scouts of America, Robert Gates, said Thursday that the organization's longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults is no longer sustainable and call...
11:23PM ( 12 hours ago )
Former Hall employee arrested on meth-related charges
Hall County authorities have arrested a now former Hall County Parks Maintenance Supervisor on drug charges.
By AccessWDUN Staff
8:46PM ( 15 hours ago )
VIDEO: Law enforcement gears up for holiday weekend, boating season
Rangers from a host of law enforcement agencies are gearing up for the busy Memorial Day weekend out on the various waterways in Georgia; the holiday marks the unofficial beginning to the summer boating season.
6:01PM ( 18 hours ago )