US economy adds 155K jobs, rate stays at 7.8 pct.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. job market proved resilient in December despite fears that the economy would tumble over the fiscal cliff.
The Labor Department reports employers added 155,000 jobs, roughly matching the solid but unspectacular monthly pace of the past two years. The gains were not enough to reduce unemployment though, which remained at 7.8 percent. Robust hiring in manufacturing and construction fueled the gains.
Also today, the Commerce Department says factory orders were flat in November. Durable goods, everything from autos to steel, rose 0.8 percent while nondurable goods fell 0.6 percent, reflecting falling petroleum prices. Orders for core capital goods, a category considered a proxy for business investment plans increased a solid 2.6 percent after a 3 percent rise in October which had been the strongest gain in 10 months.
And a private sector report finds the U.S. service sector picking up. The Institute for Supply Management says its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 56.1 in December. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.