Going into this morning, expectations were that that the new report from Bureau of Labor Statistics would show the economy added about 160,000 jobs in December. As it turns out, in the preliminary report, the expectations were quite close.
The BLS reported this morning that the overall economy added 155,000 jobs last month, while the revised unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8%. As is often the case, austerity measures undermined the employment landscape -- while America's private sector added 168,000 jobs in December, the public sector lost 13,000 jobs, including over 11,000 teachers. (President Obama's American Jobs Act was intended to prevent this, but congressional Republicans refused to vote on his proposal.)
In terms of revisions, October's numbers were slightly worse than previously reported, while November's totals were revised up by 15,000.
For the 2012 calendar year, the nation added over 1.83 million jobs, which is down slightly from 2011, but is the second best annual total since 2005. The private sector, meanwhile, added over 1.9 million jobs last year.
Politically, I suspect most will find this report underwhelming -- because it is -- but this should, in theory, only serve to remind policymakers and the rest of the political world that the economic recovery is not yet robust, and focusing on deficit reduction and austerity instead of economic growth and job creation is misguided and counterproductive.
Above you'll find the chart I run on the first Friday of every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction -- red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here's another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.