WASHINGTON — Nonfarm payrolls rose less than economists expected in December, expanding by 103,000 workers as the unemployment rate dropped to a 19-month low, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The jobless rate fell to 9.4% from 9.8% in November. However, economists said the decline was largely due to discouraged workers giving up on finding new work, rather than the creation of new jobs.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.