U.S. employers unexpectedly cut 85,000 jobs in December, government data showed on Friday, cooling optimism on the labor market’s recovery and keeping pressure on President Barack Obama.
The Labor Department said November payrolls were revised to show the economy actually added 4,000 jobs rather than losing 11,000 as initially reported. With revisions to October, however, the economy lost 1,000 more jobs than previously estimated over the two months.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 10 percent in December.
High unemployment is one of the toughest domestic challenges facing Obama. The administration’s success in getting people back to work will shape prospects for Obama’s political future.
Obama’s popularity has steadily fallen, knocking his approval ratings down to around 50 percent. This could dim the election prospects for his Democratic Party in the November congressional elections. Obama is scheduled to make a statement on the economy early Friday afternoon.