POSTED: Friday, January 4, 2013 - 7:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, January 4, 2013 - 7:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — An estimated 155,000 jobs were added in December. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 7.8 percent. It could have been worse, but wasn't.
"There were a lot of concerns that with the fiscal cliff discussion, with Hurricane Sandy, that you would have seen very few job gains at the end of this year," notes Wells Fargo chief economist John Silvia.
But jobs were created in in construction, manufacturing, healthcare, leisure and hospitality.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the only impact the fiscal cliff debate had on hiring was that the agreement saved jobs.
"I can't give you an exact figure but I'll tell you that just by the movement that the President made, we saved millions and millions of jobs," she said.
Some are asking how much better the jobs picture might have been had there not been the fiscal cliff fight.
Silvia says the numbers bode well for the immediate future.
"A lot of firms are still seeing decent consumer demand, some business investment, especially in housing, rebuilding going on," he says.
All meaning more jobs.
Now comes the debate over raising the debt ceiling, which some say would be disastrous if we don't.
"The fiscal cliff was a little scratch on the hand compared to breaching the debt ceiling. This is a self inflicted wound that is far far deeper and we are lunatics if we do that," says Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy.
Employers still may want to hold off on hiring until Congress resolves the debt ceiling issue sometime in February.