Inauspicious

85,000 Jobs Cut in December

Bad news from the Labor Department Friday: Employers cut 85,000 jobs in December, far more than the 8,000 drop that analysts expected. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 10 percent, but that's not necessarily a good thing. The rate is due to a steep drop in the labor force, which signals that some jobless people gave up looking for work, and are therefore no longer counted as unemployed. Meanwhile, the "underemployment" rate, which counts discouraged and part-time workers who want full-time jobs, rose from 17.2 percent in November to 17.3 percent in December. The unexpected decrease in jobs pushed U.S. stock-index futures down and fanned fears that economic recovery may flounder. The Labor Department also revised its figures for October, when the economy lost 16,000 more jobs than previously estimated, and November, when 4,000 more jobs than estimated were created.