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By Jason Stipp | 01-08-2010 09:57 AM

Friday's Job Report a Setback?

Although December's job number was psychologically disappointing, leading signals still look positive for a longer-term recovery in employment.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar. The government released its December unemployment report today, and it was disappointing for a lot of market watchers. 85,000 jobs were lost, while many were expecting that perhaps we might even see some job growth over the last month. Here with me to dig into the numbers is Morningstar's Bob Johnson. He's associate director of economic analysis. And Vishnu Lekraj. He's an equity analyst in the employment sector. Thanks for being here, guys.

Bob Johnson: Thank you.

Stipp: So we talked yesterday about what you were expecting. And there was some hope there, but you guys also said, "Look, there's a range where this number could fall." And it certainly fell on the more disappointing side of that range. Are these numbers really a big disappointment? Do you think this is something we should worry about? Is it a setback?

Johnson: I don't think it's a big setback at all. I think you've got to put it all in perspective, where we came from job losses of near 750,000 at the peak, and now we're somewhere near zero. And I think, really, if you look at 138 million or whatever people that are in the workforce or working, that the number of people in the 100,000 each month in jobs gets to be a measurement issue. Does it really mean all that much?

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