• Total non-farm payroll employment decreased 140 thousand in December, following an increase of 336 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls decreased by 95 thousand in December, while government employment decreased by 45 thousand. The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and efforts to contain the pandemic. Employment declines in leisure and hospitality, private education, and government were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, construction, and transportation and warehousing. In December, nonfarm employment was below its February level by 9.8 million, or 6.5%.
  • The unemployment rate held steady at 6.7% in December, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 8 thousand to 10.736 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.6%, and the number of unemployed persons was 5.844 million
  • The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 27 thousand to 3.956 million and accounted for 37.1% of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed increased by 2.779 million.
  • The labor force participation rate remained at 61.5% in December. The rate was 63.3 in December 2019.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 to 34.7 hours in December.
  • In December, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 23 cents to $29.81. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 5.1%.
  • Unemployment rates were higher in November than a year earlier in 386 of the 389 metropolitan areas, and lower higher in 3 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment decreased over the year in 242 metropolitan areas and was essentially unchanged in 147 areas.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 3 thousand to 787 thousand in the week ending January 2. The 4-week moving average was 818.75 thousand, a decrease of 18.75 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending December 26 was 5,072 thousand, a decrease of 126 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 5,274.75 thousand, a decrease of 177.25 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.5% for the week ending December 26, unchanged from the previous week’s revised rate.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed mortgage rates hit a new record low the first week of 2021. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.65% for the week ending January 7, down slightly from last week when it averaged 2.67%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.64%. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 2.16%, down from last week when it averaged 2.17%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed rate averaged 3.07%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 4.2% from two weeks earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 1, 2021. The results include adjustments to account for the holidays.
  • There were 88,885,636 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 1,913,746 deaths, and 49,427,771 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 1/9/2021, 3:30 EST). In the United States, there are 21,862,983 confirmed cases, 368,777 deaths, and no figure for recovered cases. There are recovered figures for US states, but not for the US (some states do not report it so there is no figure for the country). The real problem is that the global figure has “zero” for the US, which makes global “recovered” figures wrong. There is a significant drop in the number of recovered. It was 46,857,548 four weeks ago (12/12/2020) in the World and 6,246,605 in the US.  However, Data issues may be the least of the problems. The world is still struggling to control the spread of the virus.

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