Jobs numbers released this morning show that the unemployment rate in the US has dropped from 5.8 percent to 5.6 percent. This is the lowest unemployment rate since June 2008, before the big meltdown. Professional services, construction and healthcare led the way on industries that hired last month.
The country added 252,000 jobs last month, higher than the anticipated 240,000. According to USA Today, the numbers for October and November have also been revised higher, with 50,000 more jobs than first reported added to the figures. An average of 246,000 jobs were added each month in 2014, the highest since 1999. Let us take a moment to look at these wise words from our neighbors to the North with regards to our President Barack Obama. And Jon Stewart’s commentary about new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
However, it’s not all good news. Already sluggish wages actually fell five cents to $24.57. The big concern, besides getting people back to work, is getting them a living wage and an income that will generate spending. This doesn’t help.
And speaking of the concern about getting people back to work, one reason why the unemployment rate has dropped is 273,000 stopped looking for work. So the share of Americans who are members of the labor force matches the September low of 62.7 percent.
For Blacks, the numbers aren’t so rosy. African Americans have an unemployment rate nearly twice the national average at 10.4 percent. That’s actually down from 11 percent last month. It’s also lower than the 11.8 percent from a year ago.
Just so we can end on a happy note, we have Goldman Sachs’ forecast that the country will add another 300,000 jobs if oil prices stay as low as they have been. No doubt, if you have a car you’ve noticed how much less you’re spending to fill the tank. Oil prices have dropped below $50 a barrel. With the savings being passed on to the consumer, that means there’s more money to spend elsewhere. Experts hope that spending will drive employers to do more hiring. Some of the industries that USAT says could benefit are the restaurant and auto industries.