Bloomberg – An exodus of discouraged workers from the job market kept the U.S. unemployment rate from climbing above 10 percent in December, economists said.
Had the labour force not decreased by 661,000 last month, the jobless rate would have been 10.4 percent, according to economists including David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff & Associates in Toronto and Harm Bandholz at UniCredit Research in New York.
‘The actual unemployment rate is higher than shown by the official numbers,’ Bandholz said yesterday after a Labor Department report released in Washington showed the economy unexpectedly lost 85,000 jobs in December while the jobless rate was unchanged.
About 1.7 million Americans opted out of the workforce from July through December, representing a 1.1 percent drop that marks the biggest six-month decrease since 1961, the Labour Department report showed. The share of the population in the labour force last month fell to the lowest level in 24 years.
The so-called underemployment rate — which includes part- time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking — rose to 17.3 percent in December from 17.2 percent.