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Unemployment Drops To 8.5 Percent

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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Florida’s unemployment rate has been stuck in double-digits for months now, but new numbers on the national level may give Floridians hope that the employment picture is pointing in the right direction.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, both the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate dropped in December.

The drop in the unemployment rate finished off a four-month decline that totaled 0.6 percent.

U.S. businesses added 200,000 jobs in December, which far outpaced the average economists expected to see of 150,000.

Still, U.S. stocks opened lower Friday because numbers from ADP forecasted a possible job creation total of more than 300,000.

Overall, the job creations in December, and an increase in revised numbers from November dropped the unemployment rate to the lowest level since President Barack Obama’s second month in office.

According to the BLS, the economy has created 1.6 million jobs in the last year, the most in five years.

In addition, the BLS found that the number of workers who are either underemployed, discouraged from finding new jobs, or other circumstances dropped to a three-year low.

The biggest problem in the employment front continues to be the rapid contraction of government jobs. Government jobs shrank by 12,000 in December and for the year, roughly 280,000 jobs have been shed from government payrolls.

But, while jobs are being created, the wages being paid to American workers are not keeping up with the increases in costs for goods.

According to Reuters, hourly earnings rose just four cents, which signifies that many of the jobs created are low-paying jobs.

This in turn will impact the overall strength of the economy because it will restrict consumer spending.

And in a consumer-driven economy like the United States, until the wages rise to increase consumer spending, the economy will struggle to regain a firm footing.

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