US Unemployment Rate at 6-1/2-Year Low

US jobless rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.6 percent in December, the lowest since June of 2008. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 383,000 to 8.7 million.

In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) was essentially unchanged at 2.8 million and accounted for 31.9 percent of the unemployed. 

The civilian labor force participation rate edged down by 0.2 percentage point to 62.7 percent in December. Since April, the participation rate has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 to 62.9 percent. 

In December, the employment-population ratio was 59.2 percent for the third consecutive month. However, the employment-population ratio is up by 0.6 percentage point over the year. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in December at 6.8 million. 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, 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed 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. 

Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.1 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively. The number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.1 million.

US Unemployment Rate at 6-1/2-Year Low

BLS | Joana Taborda |
1/9/2015 1:54:10 PM