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Economic News Release

Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press 
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that 
the data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

                            Statement of

                        William J. Wiatrowski
                         Acting Commissioner
                     Bureau of Labor Statistics

                      Friday, January 4, 2019

      Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 312,000 in 
December, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent. Health 
care, food services and drinking places, construction, 
manufacturing, and retail trade added jobs over the month. Job 
growth totaled 2.6 million in 2018, compared with a gain of 2.2 
million jobs in 2017. 
      Incorporating revisions for October and November, which 
increased payrolls by 58,000, monthly job gains averaged 254,000 
over the past 3 months.
      In December, health care added 50,000 jobs. Within the 
industry, employment rose in ambulatory care services (+38,000) 
and hospitals (+7,000). Health care added 346,000 jobs in 2018, 
more than the gain of 284,000 jobs in 2017.
      Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 
41,000 in December. Over the year, the industry added 235,000 
jobs, in line with the increase of 261,000 jobs in 2017.  
      Construction added 38,000 jobs in December, following no 
change in November. Within the industry, job gains occurred in 
heavy and civil engineering (+16,000) and nonresidential 
specialty trade contractors (+16,000) in December. Employment in 
construction increased by 280,000 in 2018, compared with an 
increase of 250,000 in 2017.
      Manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in December. Most of this 
increase occurred in the durable goods component (+19,000), with 
job gains in fabricated metal products (+7,000) and computer and 
electronic products (+4,000). Nondurable goods manufacturing 
added 13,000 jobs over the month. In 2018, manufacturing 
employment increased by 284,000, with about three-fourths of the 
gain in durable goods industries. Manufacturing had added 
207,000 jobs in 2017. 
      Employment in retail trade increased by 24,000 in December.  
Job gains occurred in general merchandise stores (+15,000) and 
automobile dealers (+6,000). Employment in sporting goods, 
hobby, book, and music stores declined by 9,000 over the month. 
Retail trade employment rose by 92,000 in 2018, after little net 
change in 2017 (-29,000). 
      Employment continued to trend up in professional and 
business services in December (+43,000). In 2018, this industry 
added 583,000 jobs, outpacing the gain of 458,000 jobs in 2017.     
      Employment in other major industries--including mining, 
wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, 
financial activities, and government--showed little change over 
the month.   	
     Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls rose by 11 cents in December to $27.48. Over the past 
12 months, average hourly earnings have grown by 3.2 percent. 
From November 2017 to November 2018, the Consumer Price Index 
for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 2.2 percent (on a 
seasonally adjusted basis).

      Turning to measures from the household survey, the 
unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent in December, and the 
number of unemployed people increased to 6.3 million. A year 
earlier, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, and the 
unemployment level was 6.6 million.       
      Among the unemployed, the number who had been searching for 
work for 27 weeks or longer, at 1.3 million, was essentially 
unchanged over the month but was down by 205,000 over the year. 
In December, these long-term unemployed accounted for 20.5 
percent of the total unemployed. 
      The labor force participation rate, at 63.1 percent, 
changed little in December. The employment-population ratio was 
60.6 percent for the third month in a row. Over the year, both 
the labor force participation rate and the employment-population 
ratio were up by 0.4 percentage point. 
      In December, 4.7 million people were working part time for 
economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time 
workers), little changed from the previous month but down by 
329,000 over the year.      
      Among those neither working nor looking for work in 
December, 1.6 million were considered marginally attached to the 
labor force, little changed from a year earlier. Discouraged 
workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed no 
jobs were available for them, numbered 375,000 in December, down 
by 99,000 from a year earlier. (People who are marginally 
attached to the labor force had not looked for work in the 4 
weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, were available to 
work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 months.)
      Following our regular annual practice, seasonal adjustment 
factors for the household survey data have been updated with the 
release of December data. Seasonally adjusted estimates going 
back 5 years--to January 2014--were subject to revision.
      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 312,000 
in December, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent.

Last Modified Date: January 04, 2019