The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent in December, a new low for the recovery. For the first time in years, the unemployment rate has fallen to the range of 5.25-5.75 percent that the Fed considers consistent with its mandate to maintain full employment. A broader measure of unemployment, U-6, also fell to a new low.
the same release, the BLS reported that payroll jobs increased by a
robust 252,000 in December. On top of that, it made upward adjustments
totalling 50,000 to the already-strong job gains for October and
November. That brought the 12-month gain in payroll jobs to 2,952,000,
the best annual gain since 1999.
latest data raise a critical question: How much slack remains in the US
labor market? Is it time to start tightening policy to forestall an
outbreak of inflation, or is there room for employment to expand further
without inflationary pressure? To answer these questions, we need to
look beyond the headlines to some of the less familiar indicators of the
employment situation. >>>Read more
Follow this link to view or download a slideshow with additional charts of the employment situation