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Surprise: Latest jobs report brings continued good news for American economy

Rebecca Barnabi
Photo Credit: Kaesler Media

Despite fears of a recession looming, the unemployment rate in the United States came down to 3.5 percent in December 2022.

Unemployment in the U.S. has remained between 3.5 and 3.7 percent since March 2022.

The number of unemployed Americans decreased to 5.7 million in December. Among white Americans, rate fell to 3 percent and 5.7 percent for Black Americans, 3.1 percent for men and 3.2 percent for women.

“We still have work to do to bring down inflation, and help American families feeling the cost-of-living squeeze. But we are moving in the right direction,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Friday.

He called the last jobs report of 2022 “good news for our economy and more evidence that my economic plan is working.”

With the unemployment rate at its lowest in 50 years, the U.S. just saw the two strongest years for job growth.

“These historic jobs and unemployment gains are giving workers more power and American families more breathing room. Real wages are up in recent months, gas prices are down, and we are seeing welcome signs that inflation is coming down as well. It’s a good time to be a worker in America,” Biden said in his statement.

However, he cautioned that Americans might still “face setbacks along the way.”

While the government begins capping the cost of insulin at $35 per month for seniors, American energy and utility bills are decreasing and all around the U.S. rebuilding has begun of infrastructure, supply chains and manufacturing.

“That’s how we build an America we all take pride in, where working families have good jobs and more breathing room, and the economy grows from the bottom up and middle out for the long haul,” Biden said.

The number of long-term unemployed Americans dropped by 146,000 to 1.1 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These Americans have been without employment for 27 weeks or more, and make up 18.5 percent of all unemployed individuals.

The number of part-time employed Americans who would prefer full-time work changed little last month at 3.9 million. These workers have had their hours reduced or were unable to find full-time employment. Americans not in the work force who are looking for work decreased by 352,000 to 5.2 million December, which is slightly higher than the 5.1 million unemployed in February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. These Americans are not included in the unemployment rate for the nation because they did actively seek work in the four weeks before or were unavailable to work.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.