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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
                           Keith Hall
                   Bureau of Labor Statistics
                     Friday, January 6, 2012
     Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 200,000 in December, and
the unemployment rate, at 8.5 percent, continued to trend down.
In 2011, payroll employment growth averaged 137,000 per month.
Private-sector job gains totaled 212,000 in December and 1.9
million over the year.  Government employment changed little over
the month but fell by 280,000 over the year.
     Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 50,000
in December.  The couriers and messengers industry accounted for
almost all of the gain (+42,000), as seasonal hiring was
particularly strong in December.  This may reflect increased
online purchasing during the holiday season.
     Retail trade continued to add jobs in December (+28,000),
with increases in both general merchandise and clothing stores.
Retail trade employment has increased by 240,000 over the past 12
      Manufacturing employment rose in December (+23,000); all
of the increase occurred in durable goods manufacturing.  In
2011, manufacturing job gains totaled 225,000.  Employment in
mining continued to increase in December (+7,000).  Over the
year, mining employment rose by 89,000.
     Health care employment continued to expand in December
(+23,000).  The industry added 315,000 jobs in 2011.  Over the
month, job gains continued in hospitals (+10,000).
     Employment in food services and drinking places continued to
trend up in December (+24,000).  Employment in the industry rose
by 230,000 in 2011.
      Employment in government changed little over the month.
This sector lost 280,000 jobs over the year with declines in
local government; state government, excluding education; and the
U.S. Postal Service.
      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private
nonfarm payrolls increased by 4 cents in December to $23.24.
Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by
2.1 percent.  From November 2010 to November 2011, the Consumer
Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 3.4
     Turning to measures from the survey of households, the
jobless rate, at 8.5 percent, continued to trend down in
December.  Since August, the unemployment rate has declined by
0.6 percentage point.  Over that time period, the number of
unemployed persons declined by 823,000, while the civilian labor
force changed little.  In December, 42.5 percent of the
unemployed had been jobless for 27 weeks or more.
     The employment-population ratio, at 58.5 percent, was
unchanged over the month.  Among the employed, those working part
time for economic reasons fell by 371,000, to 8.1 million.
     The labor force participation rate, at 64.0 percent, was
unchanged in December, but was slightly lower than a year earlier
(64.3 percent).  The number of discouraged workers fell over the
year by 373,000 to 945,000 in December (not seasonally adjusted).
Discouraged workers are persons outside the labor force who are
not looking for work because they believe their job search
efforts would be unsuccessful.
     Data users are reminded that seasonal adjustment factors for
the household survey are updated each year with the release of
the December data.  Seasonally adjusted estimates going back 5
years--to January 2007--were subject to revision.
     Summarizing labor market developments for December, the
jobless rate, at 8.5 percent, continued to trend down, and
nonfarm payroll employment rose by 200,000.

Last Modified Date: January 06, 2012