NATNews Blog > January 2016 > Economy Adds 292,000 Jobs in December

    Economy Adds 292,000 Jobs in December

    1/8/2016 2:40:45 PM
    Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 292,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in several industries, led by professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking places. Mining employment continued to decline.
     
    Household Survey Data
     
    The number of unemployed persons, at 7.9 million, was essentially unchanged in December, and the unemployment rate was 5.0 percent for the third month in a row. Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.6 percentage point and 800,000, respectively.
     
    Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks declined to 8.3 percent in December, while the rates for adult men (4.7 percent), adult women (4.4 percent), teenagers (16.1 percent), whites (4.5 percent), Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (6.3 percent) showed little or no change.
     
    The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 2.1 million in December and accounted for 26.3 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed has shown little movement since June, but was down by 687,000 over the year.
     
    The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.6 percent, was little changed in December and has shown little movement in recent months. In December, the employment- population ratio, at 59.5 percent, changed little.
     
    The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 6.0 million in December but was down by 764,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
     
    In December, 1.8 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 427,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
     
    Among the marginally attached, there were 663,000 discouraged workers in December, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in December had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
     
    Establishment Survey Data
     
    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 292,000 in December. Employment rose in several industries, including professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking places. Mining employment continued to decline. In 2015, payroll employment growth totaled 2.7 million, compared with 3.1 million in 2014.
     
    Employment in professional and business services increased by 73,000 in December, with temporary help services accounting for 34,000 of the gain. In 2015, professional and business services added 605,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 704,000 in 2014.
     
    Construction showed strong job growth for the third consecutive month, gaining 45,000 jobs in December. Job gains occurred among specialty trade contractors (+29,000) and in construction of buildings (+10,000). Over the year, construction added 263,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 338,000 jobs in 2014.
     
    In December, health care employment rose by 39,000, with most of the increase occurring in ambulatory health care services (+23,000) and hospitals (+12,000). Job growth in health care averaged 40,000 per month in 2015, compared with 26,000 per month in 2014.
     
    Food services and drinking places added 37,000 jobs in December. In 2015, the industry added 357,000 jobs.
     
    Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 23,000 in December, with a gain of 15,000 in couriers and messengers.
     
    Within the information industry, motion pictures and sound recording added 15,000 jobs in December, offsetting a decline of 13,000 in the prior month.
     
    Employment in mining continued to decline in December (-8,000). After adding 41,000 jobs in 2014, mining lost 129,000 jobs in 2015, with most of the loss in support activities for mining.
     
    Manufacturing employment changed little in December, though its nondurable goods component added 14,000 jobs. In 2015, manufacturing employment was little changed (+30,000), following strong growth in 2014 (+215,000).
     
    Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, retail trade, financial activities, and government, changed little over the month.
     
    The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in December. The manufacturing workweek edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.6 hours, and factory overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.
     
    In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $25.24, changed little (-1 cent), following an increase of 5 cents in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $21.22, changed little (+2 cents).
     
    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised from +298,000 to +307,000, and the change for November was revised from +211,000 to +252,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 50,000 higher than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 284,000 per month.
     
    The Employment Situation for January is scheduled to be released on Friday, Feb. 5 at 8:30 a.m. (EST).