Total nonfarm payroll employment grew 148,000 in December, a decline from last month’s reading of 252,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate remained at 4.1%, maintaining the lowest level since December 2000.
Private service-providing industries gained 91,000 jobs, led by health care and social assistance services, which added 29,200.
Goods-producing employment rose by 55,000 jobs during the month, as gains in manufacturing led by adding 25,000 jobs in December.
The civilian labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.7% for the third consecutive month. Workers unemployed for less than 14 weeks increased by 82,000, while the number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, fell by 78,000 and accounted for 23.0% of the unemployed. The number of discouraged workers was 474,000, a 5,000 increase from a month earlier.
Average hourly earnings rose by 9 cents to $26.63, after a 3-cent increase in November. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents, or 2.5%.
Read the BLS release.