Employers Added 155,000 Jobs in December, Unemployment Holds at 7.8 Percent

The Bureau of Labor statistics reported Friday that employers added 155,000 jobs, keeping the unemployment rate little changed from November, at 7.8 percent. The report shows steady gains consistent with the average gains of the past several months (average of 151,000 jobs added per month).  The number of unemployed persons; however, was little changed in December, remaining at 12.2 million. While employers continue to hire, the number of people seeking jobs continues to increase, resulting in a stagnant unemployment rate.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised their forecast for October (from 138,000 down to 137,000) and for November up to 161,000 from 146,000, inching November’s rate up from 7.7 percent to 7.8 percent.

In December, retail employment showed little change; surprising in lieu of the holiday selling season which usually shows gains in employment. Both the health care and the food service sectors showed the largest gains last month, adding 45,000 and 38,000 respectively. And on another surprising note, both manufacturing and construction gained traction, adding 30,000 and 25,000 jobs each.

The December jobs report also showed that hourly wages increased by 2.1 percent, with an hourly wage rate averaging $23.73 per hour, up from $23.24 from a year ago.

Among the major work groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (7.3 percent) and African Americans (14.0 percent) edged up, while the rates for adult men (7.2 percent), teenagers (23.5 percent), whites (6.9 percent), and Hispanics (9.6 percent) remained unchanged. Asians continue to show the lowest rate of unemployment holding at 6.6 percent.

For those long-term unemployed (27 weeks or more), the rates remained unchanged, with

4.8 million remaining unemployed, accounting for 39.1 percent of the unemployed, according to the BLS.

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