The big drop in the unemployment rate did not come from all of the new jobs created (which were largely in hospitality and health care, with 25,000 newly-minted bartenders and waitresses in December and 36,000 health professionals finding work) but simply from the erasure of unemployed people from the rolls. Not clear from the report is if this was due to the expiration of long-term unemployment benefits prior to their extension last month.
In December, the number of people the BLS classifies as unemployed dropped by 556,000 to 14.5 million. That’s 453,000 more people than the 103,000 who got jobs. Somebody will have to check for them in the Nevada desert or at some FEMA camp. Only the most credulous of investors would look to official government numbers for accurate or useful absolute or relative measures of Arbeitslosigkeit.