The U.S. economy added 74,000 jobs in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a report released on Friday. The unemployment rate declined to 6.7 percent from 7 percent the previous month.
According to the report, employment rose in the retail, wholesale, professional and business services, and manufacturing industries, but the information, health care, and construction sectors all declined.
The number of unemployed people in the U.S. stood at 10.4 million in the last month of 2013, a drop of 490,000 from November, the report states. For the year, the number of unemployed people dipped by 1.9 million from 2012, dropping the unemployment rate 1.2 percentage points.
The December figures did not meet the expectations of forecasters, who had predicted the economy would add nearly 200,000 new jobs for the month, similar to the monthly averages for 2012 and 2013, according to The New York Times.
Guy Berger, United States economist at RBS Securities, told the Times the report isn't necessarily an omen of a prolonged trend, but expressed some worry. "It's an ugly report," he said. "We're still digging through it, but it's hard to explain the magnitude of the miss."