WASHINGTON — The U.S. December employment report was largely as expected, showing a still high 7.8% unemployment rate and a modest 155,000 gain in payrolls, both too weak to suggest economic takeoff.

In addition to the December payrolls number of a 155,000 rise, the November-October revisions on net were plus 14,000. The Q4 average gain in payrolls was a 151,000 increase, after climbing an average 168,000 a month in Q3.

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