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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

                             before the
                      Joint Economic Committee
                       UNITED STATES CONGRESS
                      Friday, January 10, 2014

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

      Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the employment and 
unemployment data we released this morning.
      The unemployment rate declined from 7.0 to 6.7 percent in 
December, and nonfarm payroll employment edged up (+74,000). 
Monthly job gains averaged 182,000 in 2013, about the same as in 
2012. In December, employment rose in retail trade and wholesale 
trade but fell in the information industry.
      Incorporating the revisions for October and November, which 
increased employment by 38,000 on net, monthly job gains have 
averaged 172,000 over the past 3 months.
      Retail trade added 55,000 jobs in December. Job gains 
occurred in food and beverage stores (+12,000), clothing stores 
(+12,000), general merchandise stores (+8,000), and motor 
vehicle and parts dealers (+7,000). Retail trade employment 
increased by an average of 32,000 per month in 2013.
      Wholesale trade employment rose by 15,000 in December. Over 
the past year, wholesale trade added an average of 8,000 jobs 
per month.
      Employment in professional and business services continued 
to trend up in December (+19,000). This industry has added 
637,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Within this industry, 
temporary help services added 40,000 jobs in December. In 
contrast, accounting and bookkeeping services lost 25,000 jobs 
over the month.
      Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in December 
(+9,000). Manufacturing added 77,000 jobs in 2013, compared with 
an increase of 154,000 jobs in 2012. 
      Employment in the information industry decreased by 12,000 
in December, reflecting a decline in motion picture and sound 
recording (-14,000). Employment in the motion picture industry 
can be volatile from month to month. Over the year, employment 
in information has shown little net change.
      Construction employment edged down in December (-16,000).  
However, in 2013, the industry added an average of 10,000 jobs 
per month. Employment in nonresidential specialty trade 
contractors declined by 13,000 in December, possibly reflecting 
unusually cold weather in parts of the country. 
      Health care employment changed little in December (-6,000). 
Over the past year, job growth in this industry slowed to an 
average of 17,000 per month, compared with an average monthly 
gain of 27,000 in 2012. 
      In December, employment in most other major industries 
changed little.
      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls edged up by 2 cents in December. Over the past 12 
months, average hourly earnings have risen by 42 cents, or 1.8 
percent. From November 2012 to November 2013, the Consumer Price 
Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose by 1.2 percent.
      Turning now to our survey of households, the unemployment 
rate decreased by 0.3 percentage point in December to 6.7 
percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate declined by 1.2 
percentage points, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 
1.9 million. In December, there were 3.9 million unemployed 
persons who had been jobless for 27 weeks or more, little 
changed over the month but down by 894,000 over the past year.
      The labor force participation rate declined to 62.8 percent 
in December. Over the year, this rate declined by 0.8 percentage 
point. The employment-population ratio, at 58.6 percent, was 
unchanged in December and over the past 12 months. In fact, this 
measure has held at or near this level since late 2009.
      Among those neither working nor looking for work in 
December, 2.4 million were classified as marginally attached to 
the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. These 
individuals 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 917,000 in 
December, down by 151,000 from a year earlier.
      I would like to note 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 2009) were subject to revision.
      In summary, the unemployment rate declined from 7.0 to 6.7 
percent in December, and nonfarm payroll employment edged up 
      My colleagues and I now would be glad to answer your 

Last Modified Date: January 10, 2014