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Economic News Release

Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

Transmission of material in this statement is embargoed until 
8:30 a.m. (ET) Friday, January 7, 2022.

                            Statement of

                          William W. Beach
                     Bureau of Labor Statistics

                       Friday, January 7, 2022

      Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 199,000 in December, and 
the unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 3.9 
percent. Employment continued to trend up in leisure and 
hospitality, in professional and business services, in 
manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and 
      In 2021, job growth averaged 537,000 per month. Employment 
has increased by 18.8 million since April 2020 but is down by 
3.6 million, or 2.3 percent, from its level before the onset of 
the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in February 2020.
      Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up 
in December (+53,000). The industry has added 2.6 million jobs 
in 2021, accounting for 4 in 10 total nonfarm payroll jobs added 
over the year. Since February 2020, employment in leisure and 
hospitality is down by 1.2 million, or 7.2 percent. Employment 
in food services and drinking places rose by 43,000 in December 
but is down by 653,000 since February 2020.
      Employment in professional and business services continued 
its upward trend in December (+43,000) but is slightly below 
(-35,000) its February 2020 level. Within the industry, 
employment in the professional and technical services component 
rose by 37,000 over the month and is 412,000 higher than in 
February 2020. (Professional and technical services includes 
industries such as computer systems design and related services, 
architectural and engineering services, and scientific research 
and development services.) Employment in the administrative and 
waste services component (which includes temporary help 
services) was about unchanged in December (+4,000) and is 
374,000 lower than in February 2020. 
      In December, manufacturing added 26,000 jobs, largely in 
durable goods industries. A job gain of 8,000 in machinery 
reflected a return of workers from a strike. Employment in 
manufacturing is 219,000 lower than in February 2020.
      Construction employment increased by 22,000 in December, 
with job gains in nonresidential specialty trade contractors 
(+13,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction 
(+10,000). Construction employment is down by 88,000 since 
February 2020.
      Transportation and warehousing added 19,000 jobs in 
December. Job gains occurred in support activities for 
transportation (+7,000), in air transportation (+6,000), and in 
warehousing and storage (+5,000). Employment in couriers and 
messengers was essentially unchanged. Since February 2020, 
employment in transportation and warehousing is up by 218,000, 
led by growth in couriers and messengers (+202,000) and in 
warehousing and storage (+181,000).
      In December, employment in wholesale trade grew by 14,000 
but is down by 129,000 since February 2020.
      Employment in mining increased by 7,000 in December but is 
down by 81,000 from a peak in January 2019.
      In December, employment showed little or no change in other 
major industries, including retail trade, information, financial 
activities, health care, other services, and government. 
      In December, the average workweek for all private-sector 
workers was unchanged at 34.7 hours. The average workweek for 
manufacturing edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.3 hours.
      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls increased by 19 cents to $31.31 in December. Over the 
past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.7 
      Turning to the labor market indicators from the household 
survey, the unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point 
to 3.9 percent in December, and the number of unemployed people 
fell by 483,000 to 6.3 million. Over the year, the unemployment 
rate is down by 2.8 percentage points, and the number of 
unemployed people is down by 4.5 million. In February 2020, the 
unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, and there were 5.7 million 
people unemployed.
      Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for 
adult men (3.6 percent), adult women (3.6 percent), and Whites 
(3.2 percent) declined in December. The jobless rates for 
teenagers (10.9 percent), Blacks (7.1 percent), Asians (3.8 
percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent) showed little or no change 
over the month.
      Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers 
declined by 202,000 to 1.7 million in December and is down by 
1.8 million from a year earlier. However, this measure is above 
its February 2020 level of 1.3 million. The number of job 
leavers declined by 113,000 in December to 724,000 but is little 
different from a year earlier. The number of people on temporary 
layoff was little changed over the month at 812,000 and is down 
by 2.3 million over the year. This measure has essentially 
returned to its February 2020 level of 780,000.
      The number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or more (often 
referred to as the long-term unemployed) declined by 185,000 to 
2.0 million in December. This measure is down from 4.0 million a 
year earlier but is 887,000 above its February 2020 level. In 
December, the long-term unemployed accounted for 31.7 percent of 
the unemployed.
      The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 61.9 
percent in December and is up by 0.4 percentage point over the 
year. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.2 
percentage point over the month to 59.5 percent and is up by 2.1 
percentage points over the year. However, both measures are 
below their February 2020 levels (by 1.5 percentage points and 
1.7 percentage points, respectively).
      In December, the number of people working part time for 
economic reasons decreased by 337,000 to 3.9 million, reflecting 
a decline in the number of people whose hours were cut due to 
slack work or business conditions. The number of people working 
part time for economic reasons has fallen by 2.2 million over 
the year and is 461,000 lower than in February 2020.
      The number of people not in the labor force who currently 
want a job was little changed at 5.7 million in December but is 
down by 1.6 million over the year. This measure remains above 
its February 2020 level of 5.0 million.
      Among those who were not in the labor force but wanted a 
job, 1.6 million were marginally attached to the labor force in 
December, essentially unchanged from November. (People who are 
marginally attached to the labor force had not actively 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.) The number of discouraged workers, a subset of 
the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available 
for them, was also essentially unchanged over the month at 
      As in previous months, some workers affected by the 
pandemic who should have been classified as unemployed on 
temporary layoff in December were instead misclassified as 
employed but not at work. The degree of misclassification was 
highest in the early months of the pandemic and has been 
considerably lower in recent months. Since March 2020, BLS has 
published an upper-bound estimate of what the unemployment rate 
might have been had misclassified workers been included among 
the unemployed. The unemployment rates for October 2021 through 
December 2021 would have been 0.1 percentage point higher than 
      For each month from March 2020 to December 2021, BLS has 
published a summary of the impact of the pandemic on The 
Employment Situation news release and data. The impact summary 
for December is available at
situation-covid19-faq-december-2021.htm. Beginning with the 
publication of January 2022 data in February 2022, this month-
specific impact summary will be discontinued. However, 
information about the impact of the pandemic, including how to 
replicate the misclassification calculation, will continue to be 
available at
      Looking at supplemental pandemic-related measures from the 
household survey (these supplemental data are not seasonally 
adjusted), the share of employed people who teleworked because 
of the pandemic was 11.1 percent in December, little changed 
from November. These data refer only to employed people who 
teleworked or worked from home for pay at some point in the last 
4 weeks specifically because of the pandemic; they do not 
include all instances of telework.
      In December, the number of people who reported that they 
had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost 
business due to the pandemic--that is, they did not work at all 
or worked fewer hours at some point in the last 4 weeks due to 
the pandemic--declined by 539,000 in December to 3.1 million. 
Among those who reported in December that they were unable to 
work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 15.9 
percent received at least some pay from their employer for the 
hours not worked, little different than the prior month.
      Among those not in the labor force in December, 1.1 million 
people were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, 
little changed from November. (To be counted as unemployed, by 
definition, individuals must either be actively searching for 
work or on temporary layoff.)
      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 2017--were subject to revision.
      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 199,000 
in December, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.9 percent.

Last Modified Date: January 07, 2022