US Shed Another 85,000 Jobs In December; Hoped-For Growth Doesn’t Come

The economy shed another 85,000 jobs in December, maintaining the unemployment rate at 10 percent and thwarting forecasts that had predicted job growth for the month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised its numbers for November; in that month, there was a net gain of 4,000 jobs, not a loss of 11,000.

Payroll giant ADP had predicted the 85,000 loss; Dow Jones economists had been more hopeful. But of course predictions mean nothing in the face of hard facts, and the fact is that unemployment remains at 10 percent.

These numbers, while disappointing, are a vast improvement from the months last year when the economy was jettisoning hundreds of thousands of jobs a month.

There is at least one bright spot in today’s report: the number of temporary workers has grown for the fifth straight month. Typically an increase in temporary workers precedes economic growth, as employers may have more work to do but currently lack the confidence to hire a full-time employee.