The U.S. Department of Labor released the final employment situation summary of 2012 this morning and the December unemployment rate came in at 7.8 percent. This was unchanged from the revised November 2012 figure.  

Initially, November 2012 unemployment was reported at 7.7 percent, but the December report revised this figure up to 7.8 percent. Two other revisions included in this month’s report include a change of +138,000 new jobs in October to +137,000 new jobs and an upward revision of November job growth, from +146,000 new jobs to +161,000 new jobs. 

Last year started off with an 8.3 percent unemployment rate in January. In September 2012, the unemployment rate finally dropped below the 8 percent mark when the DOL reported a 7.8 percent rate. This figure remained below the 8 percent level for the last four months of 2012.

During December 2012, the economy added 155,000 new jobs including 45,000 new jobs in the health care industry, 30,000 new jobs in construction and 25,000 new manufacturing jobs.

Despite the job growth, there are still millions of Americans who are either unemployed or underemployed and millions more who have essentially given up hope of finding a job. There are 7.9 million workers who are considered involuntary part-time workers; these workers want to work full-time hours and they are available for full-time positions but they have been unable to find a full-time job.

There are also 2.6 million marginally attached workers, including 1.1 million discouraged workers. The 2.6 million workers are not considered unemployed because they did not actively look for work in the four weeks preceding the employment survey. If you add these workers to the 12.2 million who are officially unemployed, you’d be looking at nearly 15 million Americans who are out of work.  

It’s a new year, though, and I’m optimistic that job creation will continue and both the unemployment rate and the real number of unemployed individuals will continue to drop.

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