U.S. Adds 155K Jobs in December Amid Fiscal Uncertainty; Total Gains Flat from FY11

January 4, 2013 9:23 AM EST
Amid high uncertainty that U.S. lawmakers would be able to forge ahead with a deal over the now-passed fiscal cliff, U.S. businesses found enough grit to keep expanding in December.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 155,000 last month, outpacing expectations for a 152,000 increase and down slightly from a revised-higher 161,000 result in November. Private payrolls rose by 168,000 in December, from a revised 171,000 in November and the consensus of a 155,000 gain.

Amid the increase, unemployment held at 7.8 percent.

In total, 1.84 million jobs were created in 2012, similar to 2011 results.

Many suspect the pace of hiring will remain firm as lawmakers look at solutions to the debt ceiling as well.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted, "Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (7.3 percent) and blacks (14.0 percent) edged up in December, while the rates for adult men (7.2 percent), teenagers (23.5 percent), whites (6.9 percent), and Hispanics (9.6 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier."

Average hourly earnings rose 2.1 percent to $23.73 with the average workweek edging higher to 34.5 hours.

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