Morning Edition had a segment this morning interviewing David Wessel, the Wall Street Journal's economics editor, about the state of the economy. At one point Wessel told listeners that economists are hopeful that the December employment report, which will be released next month, will show that the economy added jobs in the month.
Actually, there is little reason for this hope. Weekly unemployment claims have averaged well over 460,000 in the four weeks between the November and December surveys. The economy generally will not be adding jobs if claims are over 400,000 per week. Given the current rate of unemployment claims, it is very unlikely that the economy actually added jobs in December.