U.S. Economy Added 422,000 Fewer Jobs Than Projection

By Jason Hall

January 7, 2022

Employment sign trying to hire new workers
Photo: Getty Images

The United States fell far short of its projected total for jobs created during the final month of 2021.

On Friday (January 7), the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the U.S. added just 199,000 jobs in December, which was far short of the 422,000 expected by economists, while the unemployment rate dipped from 4.2% to 3.9%, NBC News reports.

“It is not at all surprising that this month’s jobs report fell short given the current turbulence and potential impact from the Covid-19 omicron variant,” said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group, via NBC News. “Rising inflation and the ongoing supply chain crisis could have major implications for the economy as the winter progresses.”

Labor market observers are expecting more struggles with the national economy as the omicron variant surge continues, slowing down school re-openings, return-to-office plans for businesses and large events that would provide an economic boost.

“The volatility incurred by omicron sweeping across America means that the data point of today is basically useless in assessing tomorrow,” said George Ball, chairman of financial services firm Sanders Morris Harris, via NBC News.

There have, however, been mixed messages based on recent job market data as private payroll processor ADP reported the private sector added 807,000 new jobs in December -- more than twice initial projects -- two days prior to the disappointing update shared by the Bureau of Labor on Friday.

Additionally, the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey reported a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November, however, new weekly jobless claims released on Thursday (January 66) showed the figure remained below historic norms at 207,000, despite still showing an increase of 7,000.

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