This January Employment Blog is taken from the U S Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 145,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent. Notable employment gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining lost jobs. In 2019, payroll employment growth totaled 2.1 million, compared with a gain of 2.7 million in 2018. Incorporating revisions for October and November, which decreased payrolls by 14,000, monthly job gains averaged 184,000 over the past 3 months. This information is summarized in Charts 1 and 2 below.
In December, employment in retail trade increased by 41,000, with job gains in clothing and accessories stores (+33,000) and in building material and garden supply stores (+7,000). For both industries, the December increase followed a decline in November. In 2019, retail trade employment changed little on net (+9,000), the second year of little employment change in the industry.
Health care added 28,000 jobs in December. Over the month, employment rose in ambulatory care services (+23,000) and hospitals (+9,000). In 2019, health care employment rose by 399,000, following an increase of 350,000 in 2018.
In December, employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up (+40,000). In 2019, the industry added 388,000 jobs, after a similar gain in the prior year (+359,000). Much of the job growth over the last 2 years occurred in food services and drinking places.
Mining employment fell by 8,000 in December and declined by 24,000 in 2019. In 2018, the industry added 63,000 jobs.
Construction employment changed little in December (+20,000). Over the year, the industry gained 151,000 jobs, about half of the increase in 2018 (+307,000).
Employment in professional and business services showed little change in December (+10,000), following a gain of 53,000 in November. In 2019, employment growth in this industry totaled 397,000, down from the gain of 561,000 in 2018.
Employment in transportation and warehousing changed little in December (-10,000). The industry added 57,000 jobs in 2019, about one-fourth of the gain in 2018 (+216,000).
Manufacturing employment was little changed in December (-12,000). Within durable goods manufacturing, fabricated metal products lost 7,000 jobs. In 2019, manufacturing employment changed little (+46,000), after increasing by 264,000 in 2018.
Employment in other major industries–including wholesale trade, information, financial activities and government–also showed little change over the month.
Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.1 percent from November to December, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This result stems from an increase of 0.1 percent in average hourly earnings combined with an increase of 0.2 percent in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).Real average weekly earnings decreased 0.1 percent over the month due to the change in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek. This information is detailed in Chart 3 below.