U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 145,000 in December, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported
today. Notable job gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining
lost jobs.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey
measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics.
The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.
For more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these
two surveys, see the Technical Note.
|                                                                                       |
|                  Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data                |
|                                                                                       |
|  Seasonally adjusted household survey data have been revised using updated seasonal   |
|  adjustment factors, a procedure done at the end of each calendar year. Seasonally    |
|  adjusted estimates back to January 2015 were subject to revision. The unemployment   |
|  rates for January 2019 through November 2019 (as originally published and as revised)|
|  appear in table A, along with additional information about the revisions.            |

Household Survey Data

In December, the unemployment rate held at 3.5 percent, and the number of unemployed
persons was unchanged at 5.8 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.9 percent,
and the number of unemployed persons was 6.3 million. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.1 percent), adult
women (3.2 percent), teenagers (12.6 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent),
Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change in December.
(See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.2 million,
was unchanged in December and accounted for 20.5 percent of the unemployed. (See table

The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 63.2 percent in December. The
employment-population ratio was 61.0 percent for the fourth consecutive month but was
up by 0.4 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.1 million, changed
little in December but was down by 507,000 over the year. These individuals, who would
have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been
reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In December, 1.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by
310,000 from a year earlier. (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. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 277,000 discouraged workers in December, down
by 98,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for
them. The remaining 969,000 persons marginally attached to the labor force in December
had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
(See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 145,000 in December. Notable job gains
occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining lost jobs. In 2019, payroll
employment rose by 2.1 million, down from a gain of 2.7 million in 2018. (See table B-1.)

In December, retail trade added 41,000 jobs. Employment increased in clothing and
accessories stores (+33,000) and in building material and garden supply stores (+7,000);
both industries showed employment declines in the prior month. Employment in retail trade
changed little, on net, in both 2019 and 2018 (+9,000 and +14,000, respectively).

Employment in health care increased by 28,000 in December. Ambulatory health care services
and hospitals added jobs over the month (+23,000 and +9,000, respectively). Health care
added 399,000 jobs in 2019, compared with an increase of 350,000 in 2018.

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in December (+40,000). The
industry added 388,000 jobs in 2019, similar to the increase in 2018 (+359,000).

Mining employment declined by 8,000 in December. In 2019, employment in mining declined
by 24,000, after rising by 63,000 in 2018.

Construction employment changed little in December (+20,000). Employment in the industry
rose by 151,000 in 2019, about half of the 2018 gain of 307,000.

In December, employment in professional and business services showed little change
(+10,000). The industry added 397,000 jobs in 2019, down from an increase of 561,000
jobs in 2018.  

Employment in transportation and warehousing changed little in December (-10,000).
Employment in the industry increased by 57,000 in 2019, about one-fourth of the 2018
gain of 216,000.

Manufacturing employment was little changed in December (-12,000). Employment in the
industry changed little in 2019 (+46,000), after increasing in 2018 (+264,000).

In December, employment showed little change in other major industries, including wholesale
trade, information, financial activities, and government.

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 3 cents to $28.32. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by
2.9 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees, at $23.79, were little changed (+2 cents). (See tables B-3 and

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.3
hours in December. In manufacturing, the average workweek and overtime remained at 40.5
hours and 3.2 hours, respectively. The average workweek of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees held at 33.5 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down by 4,000 from
+156,000 to +152,000, and the change for November was revised down by 10,000 from +266,000
to +256,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were
14,000 lower than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports
received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and
from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
184,000 over the last 3 months.

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