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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 9, 2015

      Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 252,000 in December, and 
the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.6 
percent. Job gains occurred in professional and business 
services, construction, food services and drinking places, 
health care, and manufacturing.

      Incorporating revisions for October and November, which 
increased total nonfarm payroll employment by 50,000, monthly 
job increases have averaged 289,000 over the past 3 months. In 
2014, job growth averaged 246,000 per month, compared with 
194,000 per month in 2013.

      Professional and business services employment rose by 
52,000 in December, including job gains in administrative and 
waste services (+35,000), computer systems design and related 
services (+9,000), and architectural and engineering services 
(+5,000). Employment in accounting and bookkeeping services 
declined (-14,000), offsetting an increase of the same amount in 
November. In 2014, employment in professional and business 
services increased by 732,000.

      Construction added 48,000 jobs in December, well above the 
employment gains in recent months. In December, specialty trade 
contractors added jobs (+26,000), with the gain about equally 
split between residential and nonresidential contractors. 
Employment also increased in heavy and civil engineering 
construction (+12,000) and nonresidential building (+10,000).

      Over the month, employment in food services and drinking 
places rose by 44,000. In 2014, food services added 361,000 
jobs, about in line with job gains in the industry in 2013.

      Health care added 34,000 jobs in December. Employment rose 
in ambulatory health care services (+16,000), nursing and 
residential care facilities (+11,000), and hospitals (+7,000). 
Employment growth in health care picked up in 2014 with 311,000 
jobs added during the year, compared with 204,000 in 2013.

      Manufacturing employment rose by 17,000 in December, mostly 
in durable goods (+13,000). Manufacturing added 186,000 jobs in 
2014, up from a gain of 88,000 in 2013.

      In December, employment in wholesale trade and financial 
activities continued to trend up.

      Employment in retail trade changed little over the month, 
following a large gain in November. Retail employment grew by 
250,000 in 2014.

      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls fell by 5 cents to $24.57 in December, following an 
increase of 6 cents in November. Over the past 12 months, 
average hourly earnings have risen by 1.7 percent. From November 
2013 to November 2014, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban 
Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 1.3 percent.

      Turning to the survey of households, the unemployment rate 
declined by 0.2 percentage point in December to 5.6 percent, and 
the number of unemployed persons fell by 383,000 to 8.7 million. 
In 2014, the unemployment rate declined by 1.1 percentage 
points, and the number of unemployed decreased by 1.7 million. 
Almost two-thirds of the decline in the level of unemployment in 
2014 occurred among the long-term unemployed (those jobless for 
27 weeks or longer).

      The labor force participation rate edged down in December 
to 62.7 percent. The participation rate has remained in a narrow 
range of 62.7 to 62.9 percent since April 2014. In December, the 
employment-population ratio was 59.2 percent for the third 
consecutive month. However, the employment-population ratio was 
up by 0.6 percentage point over the year.

      The number of people working part time for economic 
reasons, at 6.8 million, changed little over the month. (These 
individuals, also referred to as involuntary part-time workers, 
would have preferred full-time employment but had their hours 
cut back or were unable to find full-time work.)

      Among people who were neither working nor looking for work 
in December, 2.3 million were classified as marginally attached 
to the labor force, little changed over the year. (These 
individuals 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.) The number of discouraged 
workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that 
no jobs were available for them, was 740,000 in December, down 
by 177,000 from a year ago.

      Following our regular annual practice, seasonal adjustment 
factors for the household survey data have been updated in this 
news release. Seasonally adjusted estimates going back 5 years--
to January 2010--were subject to revision.

      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 252,000 
in December, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent.

Last Modified Date: January 09, 2015