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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

                          William W. Beach
                     Bureau of Labor Statistics

                      Friday, January 10, 2020

      Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 145,000 in December,
and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent. Notable 
employment gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while 
mining lost jobs. In 2019, payroll employment growth totaled 2.1 
million, compared with a gain of 2.7 million in 2018.
      Incorporating revisions for October and November, which 
decreased payrolls by 14,000, monthly job gains averaged 184,000 
over the past 3 months.
      In December, employment in retail trade increased by 
41,000, with job gains in clothing and accessories stores 
(+33,000) and in building material and garden supply stores 
(+7,000). For both industries, the December increase followed a 
decline in November. In 2019, retail trade employment changed 
little on net (+9,000), the second year of little employment 
change in the industry.
      Health care added 28,000 jobs in December. Over the month, 
employment rose in ambulatory care services (+23,000) and 
hospitals (+9,000). In 2019, health care employment rose by 
399,000, following an increase of 350,000 in 2018.
      In December, employment in leisure and hospitality 
continued to trend up (+40,000). In 2019, the industry added 
388,000 jobs, after a similar gain in the prior year (+359,000). 
Much of the job growth over the last 2 years occurred in food 
services and drinking places.
      Mining employment fell by 8,000 in December and declined by 
24,000 in 2019. In 2018, the industry added 63,000 jobs.
      Construction employment changed little in December 
(+20,000). Over the year, the industry gained 151,000 jobs, 
about half of the increase in 2018 (+307,000).
      Employment in professional and business services showed 
little change in December (+10,000), following a gain of 53,000 
in November. In 2019, employment growth in this industry totaled 
397,000, down from the gain of 561,000 in 2018.
      Employment in transportation and warehousing changed little 
in December (-10,000). The industry added 57,000 jobs in 2019, 
about one-fourth of the gain in 2018 (+216,000).
      Manufacturing employment was little changed in December   
(-12,000). Within durable goods manufacturing, fabricated metal 
products lost 7,000 jobs. In 2019, manufacturing employment 
changed little (+46,000), after increasing by 264,000 in 2018.
      Employment in other major industries--including wholesale 
trade, information, financial activities, and government--also 
showed little change over the month.
      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls rose by 3 cents in December to $28.32, following a gain 
of 9 cents in November. Over the past 12 months, average hourly 
earnings have risen by 2.9 percent. From November 2018 to 
November 2019, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers 
(CPI-U) increased by 2.0 percent (on a seasonally adjusted 
      In December, the major labor market indicators from the 
survey of households continued to show little or no change. Both 
the unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent, and the number of 
unemployed people, at 5.8 million, were unchanged over the 
month. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.9 percent, and the 
number of unemployed people was 6.3 million.
      Among the unemployed, the number of people searching for 
work for 27 weeks or more was unchanged at 1.2 million in 
December. These long-term unemployed accounted for 20.5 percent 
of the unemployed.
      The labor force participation rate remained at 63.2 percent 
in December. The employment-population ratio was 61.0 percent 
for the fourth month in a row.
      In December, 4.1 million people were working part time for 
economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time 
workers), little changed from the previous month but down by 
507,000 over the year.
      Among those neither working nor looking for work in 
December, 1.2 million were considered marginally attached to the 
labor force, down by 310,000 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.) Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally 
attached who believed no jobs were available for them, numbered 
277,000 in December, down by 98,000 from a year earlier.
      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 2015--were subject to revision.
      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 145,000 in 
December, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.5 percent.

Last Modified Date: January 10, 2020