While the labor rate dropped and December marked the fifth consecutive month of payroll gains, economists were disappointed with the month's results. Economists were expecting 125,000 to 150,000 new jobs for the month, but there were only 1,000 new jobs created. The primary reason the unemployment rate dropped was that 300,000 unemployed were discouraged and stopped looking for jobs.
Unemployment drops despite few new jobs
February 2, 2004
The Labor Department reported that December's unemployment rate dropped two-tenths to 5.7 percent in December, which was its lowest level in 14 months.