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. (See table A-16.)
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.