January 12, 2009
Total nonfarm payroll employment declined sharply in December. Large job losses continued in manufacturing, construction, and employment services, while health care continued to add jobs.
Manufacturing employment fell by 149,000 in December, the largest over-the-month decline since August 2001. Factory job losses totaled 791,000 in 2008, with nearly half of the decrease occurring in the fourth quarter.
Employment in construction continued to decline in December and has fallen by 899,000 since peaking in September 2006.
Within professional and business services, the temporary help industry lost 81,000 jobs in December, bringing job losses in 2008 to 490,000.
Health care employment continued to grow in December, with over-the-month job gains in ambulatory services and hospitals. In 2008, health care added 372,000 jobs.
These data are from the BLS Current Employment Statistics program, and are seasonally adjusted. Data for the most recent two months are preliminary. More information can be found in "The Employment Situation: December 2008" (PDF) (HTML), news release USDL 09-0004.