Payroll employment increased by 155,000 jobs in December, as the unemployment rate held steady at 7.8%. December’s growth brings the third quarter average monthly job growth to 151,000 jobs, lower than the 168,000 average from the previous quarter. December’s report saw November’s job gains revised up from 146,000 to 161,000.
Although job creation continues to be driven primarily by the service sector, it played much smaller a part in December’s job growth than in previous months. The service sector added 96,000 jobs over the month, the fewest since June, when overall employment grew by just 45,000. The goods producing sector picked up the slack in the service sector, adding 59,000 jobs, its fastest pace in a year. Both construction and manufacturing payrolls contributed to the goods sector strength adding 30,000 and 25,000 jobs respectively.
The unemployment rate held steady at 7.8% in December, although November’s unemployment rate was revised up to 7.8% from an initially reported 7.7%. The labor force participation rate remained unchanged in December at 63.6%.
Read the BLS report.