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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

                        Erica L. Groshen
                   Bureau of Labor Statistics

                    Friday, January 6, 2017

      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.

      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls increased by 10 cents in December to $26.00, after 
edging down in November (-2 cents). The over-the-year percent 
change in average hourly earnings trended up in 2016, reaching 
2.9 percent in December. From November 2015 to November 2016, 
the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) 
increased by 1.7 percent (on a seasonally adjusted basis). 

      Turning to measures from the survey of households, both the 
unemployment rate, at 4.7 percent, and the number of unemployed 
people, at 7.5 million, were little changed in December. 
However, both measures edged down in the fourth quarter of 2016 
after showing little change for most of the year. In December, 
there were 1.8 million unemployed people who had been looking 
for work for 27 weeks or more, little changed over the month but 
down from 2.1 million a year earlier. 

	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.

	In December, there were 5.6 million people working part 
time for economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-
time workers). This measure was essentially unchanged over the 
month but was down by 459,000 from a year earlier.

	Among those neither working nor looking for work in 
December, 1.7 million were marginally attached to the labor 
force, little different from a year earlier. Discouraged 
workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that 
no jobs were available for them, numbered 426,000 in December, 
down by 237,000 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 for 
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 2012--were subject to revision.

	In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 
in December, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 

Last Modified Date: January 06, 2017