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US economy adds 74K jobs; unemployment falls to 6.7 percent because fewer people seek work

U.S. employers added a scant 74,000 jobs in December, the fewest in three years. The disappointing gain ends 2013 on a weak note after recent economic reports had raised hopes for a strong finish.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell from 7 percent in November to 6.7 percent, the lowest level since October 2008. But the drop occurred partly because more Americans stopped looking for jobs. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively searching for work.

Cold weather may have slowed hiring. Construction firms cut 16,000 jobs, the biggest drop in 20 months.

December's hiring is far below the average gain of 214,000 jobs a month in the preceding four months. But monthly gains averaged 182,000 last year, nearly matching the previous two years.

Bank Rates

Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
30 Y Fixed Graph 3.95% dw 4.01%  
15 Y Fixed Graph 3.10% dw 3.12%  
30 Y Fixed Jumbo Graph 4.23% up 4.22%  
5/1 ARM Graph 3.09% dw 3.11%  
5/1 Jumbo ARM Graph 3.53% up 3.52%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
$30K HELOC Graph 4.65% dw 4.67%  
$50K HELOC Graph 4.02% dw 4.04%  
$30K Loan Graph 4.97% dw 5.00%  
$50K Loan Graph 4.33% dw 4.36%  
$75K Loan Graph 4.33% dw 4.36%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
36 M New Graph 2.69% -- 2.69%  
36 M Used Graph 3.18% -- 3.18%  
48 M New Graph 3.02% -- 3.02%  
48 M Used Graph 2.91% -- 2.91%  
60 M New Graph 3.07% up 3.06%  
Loan Type Graph Yield +/- Last Week
6 month Graph 0.38% dw 0.39%  
1 yr Graph 0.70% -- 0.70%  
5 yr Graph 1.50% -- 1.50%