The US economy added 155,000 jobs in December, continuing a trend of stubbornly slow improvement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said the rate of unemployment remained steady at 7.8% in December. November's rate was revised up to 7.8% from an initially reported 7.7%.
The figures are largely in line with analysts' expectations, with broadly distributed gains in employment across sectors from construction and manufacturing to healthcare.
"It was a decent employment report", John Lanski, chief economist at Moody's Capital Markets said. "I cannot see any glaring negatives in this report." In all, employers added 1.84 million jobs in 2012, in line with the previous year. It represents steady improvement in the jobs market. The gains which average around 153,000 additional jobs a month, represents continued momentum in the recovery from the 2007 to 2009 recession.
Meanwhile there are fears that the UK will face a triple dip recession after reports of a decline in UK services sector. Citi has now penciled in growth of only 0.4% instead of 0.8% in the heavily taxed economy, that is also engaging in austerity. The public sector job cuts, adds to the welfare bill, and the country will not eleiminate its structural deficit by 2015. The UK is expected to lose its triple A credit rating this year.
CIPS/Markit stated that "the reason the services purchasing managers' index dipped below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction was an unwillingness of firms to invest at a time when their customers were not spending."