U.S. economy added just 199,000 jobs in December, before labor market confronted omicron surge


The Labor Department on Friday delivered December employment numbers that were less than half what some analysts expected, with about 199,000 new jobs created.

The department reported a 3.9% unemployment rate, which is also lower than what analysts had been expecting.

Economists had predicted the government would report a gain of 440,000 jobs for December, roughly double the November number. They expected the unemployment rate to drop to 4.1%.

But the report also revised the number of jobs created in November, up to 249,000 from the originally reported 210,000.

The data, which was gathered in mid-December, missed the bulk of the Omicron variant's spread throughout the United States, which has led to increased COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and business closures.

ADP said in its private industry report on Wednesday that 807,000 nonfarm jobs were created in December, more than doubling the Dow Jones estimate of 375,9000 and November's report of 505,000 jobs.

On Thursday, the Labor Department said in its weekly report that a little more than 200,000 U.S. workers have filed new unemployment claims. The jobless assessment said there were 207,000 new claims last week, an increase of about 7,000.

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