The U.S. economy added a measly 74,000 jobs in December.
First, the scoreboard:Dow: 16,437.0 (-7.7, -0.0%)
S&P 500: 1,842.3 (+4.2, +0.2%) Nasdaq: 4,174.6 (+18.4, +0.4%)
And now the top stories:U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by just 74,000 in December, missing economists' expectation for a gain of 197,000. More Americans dropped out of the workforce, causing the labor force participation rate (LFPR) to decline to 62.8% from 63.0%. The unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 7.0% in November, but this was largely due to the shrinking LFPR. One of the major forces behind the disappointing report was the unusually cold weather. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 273,000 people weren't able to work due to weather. Weather hasn't had this big of an impact on jobs since December 1977. Generally speaking, there was more confusion than anything else. "Weather was an important contributor to the softness in December payroll job growth, but not enough to explain all of the softness," said Morgan Stanley's Ted Wieseman of the nonfarm payrolls number, which comes from the BLS' establishment survey. "There was major confusion in the market after the report in interpreting the BLS' count of people not at work because of bad weather. This is a measure in the household survey that is indicative — and only indicative — of weather impacts on the report. 273,000 people with jobs didn't work in the December survey week because of the weather. Note that THESE PEOPLE HAD JOBS. So obviously this household survey gauge can't just be subtracted from the establishment payroll count." President Obama will nominate Stanley Fischer, Lael Brainerd, and Jerome Powell to the Federal Reserve. Fischer will fill the vice chair position vacated by Janet Yellen. There are no big surprises here. For the most part, experts are thrilled to hear about Fischer's nomination. Morgan Stanley's Vincent Reinhart previously said that a Yellen-Fischer Fed would make for a monetary policy "dream team." Sears Holdings got crushed today. On Thursday afternoon, the retailer warned that it would report a Q4 net loss of $2.01-$2.98 per share. Analysts had been expecting a $0.26 per share profit. Management also warned that its quarter-to-date comparable store sales tumbled 7.4%. Don't Miss: GOLDMAN: Here Are 40 Great Comeback Stocks For 2014 »
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