By: Nicole Urken | 01/10/14 - 06:15 PM ESTTheStreet) -- We heard this morning that the U.S added 74,000 jobs in December, well below estimates for almost 200,000 and last month's upwardly revised 241,000. And, while the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7%, below economist estimates, this was largely due to the continued reduction in the labor force, with the participation rate dropping to 62.8%. Many have pointed to this data point being an outlier, particularly given weather issues and its stark contrast with stronger economic data we have received, including Institute for Supply Management (ISM) numbers and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But there is no doubt that today's number was disappointing, reminding us how key it is that back in December, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's announcement that the Fed will start to cut back on its bond purchases at a rate of $10 billion per month is data-dependent. And, the decision to keep interest rates at current record low levels for a longer period, with a 6.5% unemployment rate as merely a benchmark figure, is also key. Just before Christmas, on CNBC's Closing Bell, I talked about key areas of the economy that are beneficiaries of taper, including industrial stocks like Honeywell (HON - Get Report) and financials like Citigroup (C - Get Report) and U.S. Bancorp (USB). Take a look at the link here:
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