The number of unemployed persons, at 12.2 million, was little changed in December. The unemployment rate held at 7.8 percent and has been at or near that level since September.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (7.3 percent) and blacks (14.0 percent) edged up in December, while the rates for adult men (7.2 percent), teenagers (23.5 percent), whites (6.9 percent), and Hispanics (9.6 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.6 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.
In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 4.8 million and accounted for 39.1 percent of the unemployed.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 155,000 in December. In 2012, employment growth averaged 153,000 per month, the same as the average monthly gain for 2011. In December, employment increased in health care, food services and drinking places, construction, and manufacturing.
Health care employment continued to expand in December (+45,000). Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 38,000. Construction added 30,000 jobs, led by employment increases in construction of buildings (+13,000) and in residential specialty trade contractors (+12,000). Manufacturing employment rose by 25,000, with small gains in a number of component industries. Employment in retail trade changed little in December, after increasing by 143,000 over the prior 3 months.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised from +138,000 to +137,000, and the change for November was revised from +146,000 to +161,000.