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Payroll employment flat in December

January 13, 2004

Total nonfarm payroll employment was unchanged in December, at 130.1 million, seasonally adjusted.

Change in payroll employment, seasonally adjusted, December 2002-December 2003
[Chart data—TXT]

Employment continued to rise in the temporary help, construction, and health care industries. Retail trade and manufacturing lost jobs over the month.

In December, employment in retail trade declined by 38,000. Weak hiring for the holiday shopping period resulted in seasonally adjusted job losses in general merchandise stores; miscellaneous store retailers; and sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores.

Manufacturing employment was down by 26,000 in December. From September to December, employment in this industry declined at a slower pace than during the first 8 months of 2003.

Professional and business services added 45,000 jobs in December; over the year, employment increases in this industry have totaled 252,000. The majority of this gain occurred in temporary help services, which added 166,000 jobs in 2003, including 30,000 in December. Employment in education and health services also continued to rise over the month; over the year, the industry added 301,000 jobs.

Construction employment continued on a modest upward trend in December. The industry has added 173,000 jobs since February.

Payroll employment data are from the Current Employment Statistics program. The above data are seasonally adjusted. Data for November and December 2003 are preliminary and subject to revision. For more information, see "The Employment Situation: December 2003" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL. 04-07.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Payroll employment flat in December at (visited July 15, 2024).

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