The number of unemployed persons decreased by 556,000 to 14.5 million in December, and the unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent. Over the year, these measures were down from 15.2 million and 9.9 percent, respectively.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (9.4 percent) and whites (8.5 percent) declined in December. The unemployment rates for adult women (8.1 percent), teenagers (25.4 percent), blacks (15.8 percent), and Hispanics (13.0 percent) showed little change. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.2 percent, not seasonally adjusted.
In December, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs dropped by 548,000 to 8.9 million. The number of longterm unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little
changed at 6.4 million and accounted for 44.3 percent of the unemployed.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 103,000 in December. Employment rose in leisure and hospitality and in health care but changed little in other major industries. Since December 2009, total payroll employment has increased by 1.1 million, or an average of 94,000 per month.
Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 47,000 in December. Within the industry, job gains continued in food services and drinking places (+25,000). Since a recent low in December 2009, the food services industry has added 188,000 jobs.
In December, health care employment continued to expand, with a gain of 36,000. Over the month, job gains continued in ambulatory services (+21,000), hospitals (+8,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+7,000).
Within professional and business services, employment in temporary help services continued to trend up in December (+16,000) and has risen by 495,000 since a recent low in September 2009.
Employment in retail trade changed little in December (+12,000). A job gain in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+8,000) offset a loss in health and personal care stores (-8,000). Employment in most other service-providing industries changed little over the month.
In the goods-producing sector, mining employment continued to trend up in December, reflecting a job gain in support activities for mining (+5,000).
Manufacturing employment changed little over the month (+10,000). Following job growth earlier in 2010, employment has been relatively flat, on net, since May. Construction employment also was little changed overall in December (-16,000). Within construction, there were job losses in heavy and civil engineering (-13,000) and in residential building (-6,000).
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised from +172,000 to +210,000, and the change for November was revised from +39,000 to +71,000.