The U.S. economy added just 74,000 nonfarm jobs in December, the lowest number since October 2011, while the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent, a five-year low, as more Americans dropped out of the labor force.
Economists were expecting non-farm payroll gains of 196,000 in December, according to briefing.com.
In December the labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8 percent in December, the lowest number since March 1978.
The average workweek in December for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls moved lower by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours.
Health care employment declined by -6,000 in December and employment in information fell by -12,000 in December, led by a decline in the motion picture and sound recording industry which saw a decline of -14,000 in December. Construction employment dropped in December by -16,000.
Employment in professional and business services moved higher in December with 19,000 jobs added. Manufacturing employment in December saw gains of 9,000.
The revised nonfarm payroll number for October remained steady at 200,000 while November’s nonfarm payroll number was revised higher from 203,000 to 241,000.
The total revised employment gains in October and November were 38,000 higher than previously reported.
In 2013, job growth averaged 182,000 per month which nearly matches the same number in 2012 (183,000 per month).