Economy added 292,000 jobs last month

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By Jane M. Von Bergen

The nation’s payrolls increased by 292,000 jobs in December, eight years after the beginning of the 2007 recession that crippled America’s economy.

The unemployment rate remained at 5 percent for the third month in a row, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday. Not surprisingly, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, who will be visiting a manufacturing plant in Philadelphia next week, liked the report.

“What we see from the data, the job train sped into the new year. We have to make sure every worker has a seat on the train,” Perez said in a phone interview.

“What’s notable about the job figures is not just the quantity of jobs, but the quality of jobs,” he said. “At the beginning of the recovery, the jobs that come back first are the lowest-paying jobs,” but lately, he said, more family-sustaining jobs have been added.

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