Commissioner's Statement on The Employment Situation

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 J. Wiatrowski
                       Acting Commissioner
                   Bureau of Labor Statistics

                    Friday, January 5, 2018


      Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 in December, and 
the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent. Employment 
increased in health care, construction, and manufacturing. Job 
growth totaled 2.1 million in 2017, compared with a gain of 2.2 
million in 2016.
      
      Incorporating revisions for October and November, which 
decreased nonfarm payroll employment by 9,000 on net, monthly 
job gains have averaged 204,000 over the past 3 months.
      
      In December, employment in health care increased by 31,000. 
Over the month, employment continued to trend up in ambulatory 
health care services (+15,000) and hospitals (+12,000). In 2017, 
health care added 300,000 jobs, less than the increase of 
379,000 jobs in 2016. 
      
      Construction added 30,000 jobs in December. Specialty trade 
contractors accounted for most of the gain (+24,000). 
Construction employment rose by 210,000 in 2017, compared with 
its 2016 gain of 155,000. 
      
      Manufacturing added 25,000 jobs in December. Within the 
industry, employment grew in machinery (+6,000), fabricated 
metal products (+5,000), primary metals (+3,000), and 
semiconductors and electronic components (+2,000). In 2017, 
factory employment increased by 196,000, following little change 
in 2016.
      
      Employment in food services and drinking places changed 
little in December (+25,000). Over the year, the industry has 
added 249,000 jobs, about in line with a gain of 276,000 in 
2016.
      
      Employment in professional and business services was little 
changed in December (+19,000). In 2017, this industry added 
527,000 jobs, in line with its 2016 gain.
      
      Employment in retail trade was also little changed in 
December (-20,000). Within the industry, employment declined by 
27,000 in general merchandise stores. Employment in retail trade 
edged down in 2017 (-67,000), following a gain of 203,000 in 
2016.
      
      Employment in other major industries--mining, wholesale 
trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial 
activities, and government--changed little in December.
      
      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls increased by 9 cents in December to $26.63. Over the 
past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 
percent. From November 2016 to November 2017, the Consumer Price 
Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 2.2 percent 
(on a seasonally adjusted basis).
      
      The major labor market indicators from the survey of 
households showed little or no change in December. The 
unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the third month in a row, 
following declines earlier in the year. The number of unemployed 
people, at 6.6 million, was essentially unchanged over the month 
but was down by 926,000 over the year.
      
      Among the unemployed in December, 1.5 million had been 
searching for work for 27 weeks or longer. These long-term 
unemployed accounted for 22.9 percent of the total unemployed.
      
      The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, was 
unchanged over the month and over the year. The employment-
population ratio was unchanged at 60.1 percent in December but 
was up by 0.3 percentage point over the year.
      
      The number of people working part time for economic 
reasons, also referred to as involuntary part-time workers, was 
essentially unchanged at 4.9 million in December. Over the past 
year, the number of involuntary part-time workers declined by 
639,000. 
      
      Among those neither working nor looking for work in 
December, 1.6 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 474,000 in December, 
also little changed 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 2013--were subject to revision.
      
      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 in 
December, and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent.



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Last Modified Date: January 05, 2018