December's increase in U.S. payrolls was paced by New York and New Jersey as the states rebounded from the damage caused by superstorm Sandy.
Of the 27 states showing a boost in employment last month, New York led the pack with a 35,100 gain in hiring, followed by New Jersey with 30,200, according to figures from the Labor Department today in Washington. The jobless rate fell in 22 states and rose in 16.
"It's modest, slow growth in hiring," Josh Dennerlein, an economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York, said before the report. Overall, "the labor market is continuing to improve."
The dominance of New York and New Jersey indicates the rebound from the storm that crippled the Northeast in late October and early November had some effect on December employment, taking some of the shine off last month's 155,000 total increase. Sustained gains in hiring are needed to help propel consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
--Editor: Carlos Torres
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