Though the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7% in December 2013, the lowest point since in more than five years, the economy added an unimpressive 74,000 jobs, according to the jobs report released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Coming off consecutive months of solid gains, economists expected the economy would add 200,000 jobs in December. The ADP survey released earlier this week estimated that 238,000 jobs were added to private payrolls. Unfortunately, the BLS report comes in well below those expectations, adding the fewest number of jobs since October 2008.
The disappointment isn’t limited to the total number of jobs added, but also that 347,000 people left the workforce in December. That brings the labor force participation rate to 62.8%, where it was in October 2013 and, also, its lowest point since 1978.
Here’s the chart via Zero Hedge (click to enlarge):