US Economy Adds 292K Jobs in December


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 292,000 in December of 2015, higher than an upwardly revised 252,000 in the previous month and beating market expectations of 200,000. 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. 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.

US Economy Adds 292K Jobs in December


BLS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
1/8/2016 1:43:25 PM