Unemployment held steady at 7.8% for December and 155,000 new jobs were added during the month.
This was better than the estimated 140,000 by Bloomberg economists surveyed. For the year, 2012 averaged 153,000 new jobs per month, on par with monthly gains in 2011.
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Healthcare, food services, and drinking places added the most new jobs
followed by construction and manufacturing.
In a separate report due from the Commerce Department on January 11, it’s expected that the trade deficit narrowed in November with the drop in fuel imports and the increase in exports.
Economists estimate the gap contracted to $41.2 billion from $42.2 billion in October. The combination of new job creation and falling fuel prices is boosting consumer buying power and bolstering the US economic recovery.
Exports have been strong in the US and is likely to continue throughout 2013 because of the rebound in global manufacturing.
China saw its strongest rebound in 19 months, adding confidence that its economic recovery is gaining momentum.
The November trade data
could have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. Lower fuel prices might have lowered the value of imports.