PARKERSBURG -The latest unemployment numbers show the economy is stagnant, a Republican congressman from West Virginia said Friday.
The December job report released Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics said unemployment for December was 7.8 percent.
That's what it was four years ago, Rep. David B. McKinley, R-1st, said.
"The so-called economic 'recovery' is looking more like stagnation, with 23 million Americans looking for work and our economy treading water," McKinley said. "In order to improve job growth and give hope to millions of unemployed Americans, Congress needs to stop the wasteful spending that is burdening future generations with debt, reform the tax code to help families and small businesses, and do away with red tape and excessive regulations."
The White House issued a statement in contrast to McKinley's comments.
The bureau's report said 168,000 jobs were added by the private sector in December and non-farm payroll employment rose by 155,000 jobs, the 34th consecutive month the private sector has added jobs. About 5.8 million jobs have been added over that period.
"While more work remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression," Alan B. Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said. "It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007."
According to the bureau, businesses added 2 million jobs in 2012. In the last year, unemployment decreased by 0.7 percent, the bureau said.
In December, employment most notably rose in the health care and social assistance industry, restaurants and bars, construction and manufacturing. Manufacturing sector has added jobs in 30 of the last 35 months, the bureau said.
Government lost 13,000 jobs in December, mostly in local government education, which lost 11,500 jobs, the bureau said.