Deer Park Tribune

U. S. Economy Adds 223,000 Jobs in December, Record Number Of People Employed

- Brandon Hanson

The United States added 223,000 jobs in December as the post- COVID job market remains strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest jobs report, showing the unemployme­nt rate dropped to 3.5 percent. The number of Americans employed - 159,244,000 is a record number.

It was the 24th month of job growth as companies grappled with a labor shortage. These numbers fly in the face of news of a recession. Economic activity has been dropping in some U. S. states, which have some expecting a country- wide slowdown in 2023. Tech companies have also announced many layoffs. According to economists, large companies recruited hard for talent in 2022 and now realized they were too aggressive, which has opened up more employees for small and medium- sized companies.

Large employers cut 151,000 jobs in December, while companies with fewer than 500 employees added 400,000 jobs. Economists said this shows a very fragmented job market.

Of tech workers laid off, nearly 40 percent of those people found a job within a month, and 80 percent found a job within three months.

Hospitalit­y, one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, added 67,000 jobs in December but is still about six percent below the jobs the sector had in February of 2020.

For workforce participat­ion, the percentage of Americans working or looking for jobs increased to 62.3 percent in December. Americans not counted in the labor force are currently 99,879,000.

The U. S. expected to add about 200,000 jobs, so the actual December numbers exceeded expectatio­ns. The number of unemployed Americans looking for work dropped by 278,000 in the country to 5,722,000.

Currently, in America, 164,966,000 workers are participat­ing in the labor force. There are also 47 million retired people and 72 million Americans who are children.

The Americans not participat­ing in the labor force number 99,879,000. These are people not looking for a job, retired, students, and caregivers. Workforce participat­ion has been falling short because of excess retirement­s. Excess retirement­s are when there are more retirement­s than expected from the aging population. Retirement­s account for more than two million of the three- anda- half million employee shortfall in the labor force.

Washington State in November had a 4.2 percent unemployme­nt rate, while Stevens County saw its unemployme­nt rate rise from 5.1 percent in October to 6.8 percent in November. The county has 19,654 workers in the labor force, which is higher than 2019's 19,472 workers in the labor force. Currently, there are 1,332 people unemployed in the county, up from 983 unemployed workers in October of 2022.

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