US job growth weakest in three years
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – US employers hired the fewest workers in almost three years in December, but the setback was likely to be temporary amid signs that cold weather conditions might have had an impact.
Nonfarm payrolls rose only 74,000 last month, the smallest increase since January 2011, and the unemployment rate fell 0.3 of a percentage point to 6.7 per cent, the Labor Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate was the lowest since October 2008 and in part reflected people leaving the labor force.
The step back in hiring is at odds with other employment indicators that have painted an upbeat picture of the jobs market. The data showed that 38,000 more jobs were added in November than previously reported.
Construction employment fell for the first time since May and leisure and hospitality payrolls rose marginally, suggesting that cold weather in some parts of the country had held back hiring. There were also declines in government employment.