11 Jan 2014

New US job numbers down

1:04 pm on 11 January 2014

The US economy created only 74,000 jobs in December, with many people giving up looking for work.

A sign in a store window in New York.

A sign in a store window in New York. Photo: Getty Images North America / AFP / file

Latest figures show the number of jobs created was the lowest for three years and was well under half the number expected by analysts.

The US unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 6.7%.

However, the BBC reports that was mostly due to a drop in the number of people looking for work.

The labour force participation rate fell to 62.8%, close to the lowest in 35 years.

The federal government counts people as unemployed only if they say they are actively searching for work.

The leisure, manufacturing and services sectors added jobs in December, but the BBC reports construction cut 16,000 jobs, the biggest drop in the industry in 20 months.