156,000 Jobs Added in December, Strongest Wage Growth since Recession

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December, down from November’s upwardly revised figure of 204,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate moved up slightly to 4.7% as more people entered the labor force. The majority of gains occurred in health care and restaurants.


Private-service providing industries added a net 132,000 jobs, led by gains in education and health services, which added 70,000 jobs during the month, and by leisure and hospitality, which added 24,000 jobs this month.

Goods-producing employment rose by 12,000 jobs during the month, as gains in manufacturing led the way.

The civilian labor force participation rate was 62.7%, virtually unchanged from November. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, decreased to 1.8 million and accounted for 24.3% of the unemployed. The number of discouraged workers was 426,000, down over 35% from a year earlier.

Average hourly earnings increased by 10 cents to $26.00, which was the fastest rise in worker pay since 2009. Hourly earnings have increased 2.9% over the past year.

Read the BLS release.