Alex Witt   |  January 11, 2014

Jobs report shows underwhelming results

Alex Witt talks to economist Jared Bernstein about the December jobs report and what it means for the economy.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> many economists are scratching their heads wondering what happened to the december jobs report. the final unemployment numbers of 2013 show that only 74,000 jobs were added last month. but at the same time the unemployment fell to 6.7%. but that is mainly because a lot of people gave up the job search . and to drive home the point of job market worries, check out this video. there are 5,000 people or so waiting in line to apply for 1500 job opening at a outlet mall . jarod, can you make sense of these numbers?

>> first of all i can think of no better way to start the weekend than to talk to you about the jobs report. i think it's a bit of a head scratcher. there are such a thing as statistical outliars. these reports tend to have a fair bit of noise in them and the payroll number will be revised and probably revised up. the main thing is the decline in the participation in the labor force . people leaving the labor force . as you suggested you're not counted as unemployed unless you're looking for work.

>> but if you break it down sector by sector, there were some strong gains in the retail and professional business services but then you look at construction and government jobs , that was a loss. how do you interpret that?

>> construction may have had something to do with unusually cold weather in december. here's a good point. the health care sector, that's a sector that continue yawly adds jobs month after month. for the first time in a decade it shed 6,000 jobs last month. the broader point is this. the job market remains pretty weak and right now in congress they're talking about whether they should extend unemployment insurance benefits. even if this report was less anom lis, the fact that there is so many long term unemployed people, these are signals, you saw that line in the picture you saw. any economy mist would look at that line' say labor supply is way ahead of labor demand.

>> then you look at the entire year for 2013 you had 2.2 mill job jobs added to the economy. but then the unemployment rate fell from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. how is our new fed chair janet yellen expected to do.

>> they're going to held. economy with the still la tif monetary. all the fed did was essentially adding a little bit less juice to the economy as it were. it's not like they're winding down yet. they're just kind of doing a little bit less. and i think given the jobs report, even if it is muddy, janet yellen has consistently showed she ooh's krnd with it. i think she's going to continue to apply monetary similar lus.

>> here's what's interesting. the president announces the formation of what he calls promise zones. so basically what these are, they're neighborhoods where local efforts are going to be met on a national goal that a child's course in life will be determined not by the zip code she's born many but the strength of her work ethic . how do these promise zones work?

>> so these are areas where businesses, entrepreneurs can get various breaks from the tax system, for example, if they set up shop in a particular area that's had a unique economic challenges versus another area that's doing better. it's targeting economic policily place. historically it's been kind of a mixed track record for those kinds of policies. but let's see how it works.

>> thank you all always, jarod bernstein glad to see you.