The unemployment rate held steady last month at 5.8 percent. That sounds positive –at least it didn’t increase, but the reasons behind the decline are mixed and unfortunately, the job prospects for skilled, unemployed workers are still not good.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly report, job growth hit 321,000 in the month of November. That is half as good as the gain of 683,000 in October though better than the 232,000 jobs gained in September. That translates into a three-month moving average of 306,000 jobs.

Digging into other data we find that the headcount of workers getting back to work isn't changing much. Only 4,000 more Americans were working in November despite the 300,000 jobs create. The labor force grew 119,000 people meaning some discouraged workers who dropped out of the labor force feel encouraged to start looking for work again. That’s good but still not enough to increase the participation rate which stubbornly remained at 62.8 percent – just barely above the lowest level over the past three decades.

So for all of the cheer that the economy is adding jobs, it’s still difficult to be an unemployed worker looking for a job.

The kinds of jobs being added are also not fulltime, high-paying jobs for skilled workers. Full-time jobs declined by 150,000, while part-time positions increased by 77,000. Rather retail, food, and hospitality are adding opportunities. 

That’s great for lower-skilled workers, not surprisingly as we are in the holiday season. However, if you have a degree and bills to pay like student loans, these jobs many not go very far in putting a dent in your debt or in moving you along in your preferred career.

CNBC reports:

Consider it a brutal lesson in government math.

Friday's turbocharged jobs headline came thanks to seasonal adjustments and other wizardry at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported that U.S. job growth hit 321,000 even as the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent.

But there were several other points not to like in the report.

Families, for instance, also were under pressure: There were 110,000 fewer married men at work, while married women saw their ranks shrink by 59,000.

And there was an exceedingly huge disparity between expectations and results: ADP's report Wednesday showed just 208,000 new private sector positions, compared with the 314,000 in the BLS report. That's a miss of 51 percent, the worst showing for ADP's count since April 2011 even though the firm has touted its partnership since then with Moody's Analytics as a way to make its count more accurate.

Finally, there was a rather startling numerical coincidence: That same 321,000 figure was repeated later in the report—as the total number of bar and restaurant jobs created over the past 12 months.

Getting Americans back to work is paramount. When the economy adds jobs it provides a psychological boost to the unemployed and employers that they can veer back out into the market again. However, there doesn’t seem to be enough matching between unemployed workers and open positions. As we reported recently, it could be because those who are currently employed are jumping to new positions.

The quality of jobs also plays a role here. Working is better than not working but our economy needs to get to the place where if you want a fulltime job you can find one and if you are educated with skills, you aren’t settling for low-skilled positions just to make ends meet.

Washington politicians from the White House to those on Capitol Hill clamor to take credit at the early signs of light in the darkness of a tough economy. However, no one is taking credit for the weak growth of good-paying jobs. People including the President want to arbitrarily raise the minimum wage as the answer for boosting incomes, but as we know, that causes far more damage than policies that would incentive employers to higher such as lowering taxes.

We need policies that get government out of the way of controlling to economy and employers. Then we’ll see job growth in all levels of skill and education and we’ll get Americans back to work.