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Friday, January 06, 2012

SBE Council Chief Economist on Latest Jobs Data

Today, Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), released the following statement in response to the December employment data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

"The best way to sum up the latest jobs data is that the employment story is mixed but improving.

"The improvements can be found in a 212,000 increase in private payrolls in December. In addition, the unemployment rate declined for the fourth straight month, moving from 9.1% in August to 8.5% in December. But the big, positive news from a small business perspective is that employment has increased for six straight months, for total gains of 1.4 million, according to the household survey, which better captures start up and small business activity.

"The mixed part of the picture is found when digging a bit further into the data. For example, about a quarter of the decline in the unemployment rate in December was due to a shrinking of the labor force. The labor force has declined for two straight months, and was down in five of the last seven months. That shows continuing discouragement among workers. And it must be kept in mind that the labor force participation rate (64.0% in December) and the employment-population ratio (58.5%) remain at or near lows that were last seen in the period of 1983-84.

"The recent improvements in the jobs picture are most welcome, but the economy desperately needs government to get out of the way so that entrepreneurs and investors in the private sector can be unleashed to drive innovation, growth and jobs. An under-performing U.S. economy for more than four years now is an outrage, and it's due to big government raising costs and creating uncertainty for business and investment."

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