The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent in December, its lowest rate since October 2008, but economists are putting an asterisk on the number because the economy added just 74,000 jobs in December, its smallest increase since the start of 2011.
The unemployment rate fell from 7.0 in November, but the decline appeared to occur mainly because more people dropped out of the labor force.
Retailers posted the biggest increase in hiring in December, adding 55,000 jobs, and manufacturers also boosted employment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Yet hiring was weak across most other sectors, reversing the broad gains seen in November.
The employment gain in November, meanwhile, was bumped up to 241,000 from a first read of 203,000. October’s gain was unchanged at 200,000. The United States ended the year adding roughly the same number of workers as it did in 2012, based on the preliminary numbers