263,000 jobs added in December, unemployment rate at 3.5%

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total unemployed persons declined to 5.7 million in December, and the unemployment rate declined at 3.5%.

Job growth was notable in leisure and hospitality, health care, and health services.

In December, leisure and hospitality added 67,000 jobs less than the average monthly job gain of 2022. Employment in leisure and hospitality still remains below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 932,000, or 5.5 percent.

Employment in professional and business services changed little in December (-6,000). Within the industry, professional and technical services declined 35,000 jobs, while business support services lost 11,000 jobs. Monthly job growth in professional and business services has averaged 50,000 thus far in 2022, down from 94,000 per month in 2021.

In December, employment in health care rose by 55,000, with gains in ambulatory health care services (+30,000), hospitals (+16,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+9,000). Job growth in health care averaged 49,000 per month in 2022, considerably above the 2021 average monthly gain of 9,000.

Read the BLS release.