Holiday employment help improve the unemployment figure, but the holiday jobs are temporary. When more people decide to leave the workforce or quit looking for jobs, the unemployment figure is calculated by using fuzzy math. Thus, if we calculate 50% of the workers who decided to leave the workforce or stop looking for jobs, the unemployment rate would be 5%.
(CNBC) The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.5 percent last month as job creation was more robust than expected, providing continued signs that the nation's labor market is improving gradually.
The unemployment rate — a hotly contested number because of the rise in potential workers who have quit looking for jobs — has fallen 0.6 percentage points since August.
However, an alternative measure of unemployment that counts discouraged workers also dropped sharply. The so-called U-6 number, more encompassing than the headline number the government publicizes, dropped to 15.2 percent from 15.6 percent in November.
Despite a steady progression in the amount of jobs created, the market has been reacting negatively on the first Friday of the month when the government's payroll count comes out. In fact, if the market closes lower Friday it will mark a new record of eight consecutive session in which the averages fell on the day of the monthly employment report.