This employment report is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U S Department of Labor. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 percent. Job growth occurred in health care and social assistance. In 2016, job gains averaged 180,000 per month, slower than the average increase of 229,000 per month in 2015. Incorporating revisions for October and November, which increased nonfarm payroll employment by 19,000 on net, monthly job gains have averaged 165,000 over the past 3 months.
Employment in health care increased by 43,000 in December. Health care added an average of 35,000 jobs per month in 2016, roughly in line with growth in 2015 (+39,000 per month). Ambulatory health care services added 30,000 jobs in December, including a gain in outpatient care centers (+7,000). Hospitals added 11,000 jobs over the month.
Employment in social assistance grew by 20,000 in December, reflecting a job gain in individual and family services (+21,000). In 2016, employment in social assistance rose by 92,000, down from an increase of 162,000 in 2015.
Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in December (+30,000). Food services and drinking places added 247,000 jobs in 2016, about two-thirds of the gain in 2015 (+359,000).
In December, employment in transportation and warehousing continued to trend up (+15,000). Within the industry, couriers and messengers added 12,000 jobs. In 2016, transportation and warehousing added 62,000 jobs, down from a gain of 110,000 jobs in 2015.
Employment in financial activities continued on an upward trend in December (+13,000). This is in line with the average monthly gains for the industry over the past 2 years.
Over the month, employment edged up in manufacturing (+17,000), mostly in the durable goods component (+15,000). However, since reaching a recent peak in January, employment in manufacturing has declined by 63,000.
Employment in professional and business services was little changed in December (+15,000), following an increase of 65,000 in November. The industry added 522,000 jobs in 2016.
Employment in other major industries–mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and government–changed little in December.
The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, changed little in December. The employment-population ratio was 59.7 percent for the third month in a row. Both measures held fairly steady in 2016.
Trends in labor force participation rates, unemployment and total employment over the last 10 years are detailed below.