Employment numbers showed positive traction with employment rising by 200,000 in December and the unemployment rate drifting down to 8.5 percent. That’s according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics release on Friday.
“The main point to take away from this report that it’s one more indication that the economy is starting to gain traction. This builds on other positive reports that have come over the past month,” said Economist Kimberly Ritter from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.
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Another positive in this report is that job gains were broad based. In November the job growth was heavily weighted to the retail sector. But December saw gains in transportation, warehousing, education, and health care. Leisure and hospitality and even manufacturing and construction posted significant job gains.
Still Ritter says the public should not be surprised by a slow down in the economy in the first quarter of 2012.
“There were seasonal factors that pushed up the December numbers, such as extra retail hiring, and a big jump in couriers which are like your FedEx and UPS jobs. So those effects are going to fade the first part of the year,” Ritter said.
The unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage point since August but leaves 13.1 million without jobs.