The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that 252k nonfarm payrolls were added during the month of December. This follows revised payrolls gains of 353k in November and 261k in October.
The Professional Services industry added the most jobs in December.
The Education and Health Services industry, the Leisure and Hospitality industry, and the Professional Services industry have contributed the most to job gains over the last 8 years. Although Construction and Manufacturing employment both grew in December, these sectors have had the most difficulty recovering from the economic downturn.
The household survey shows that 427k full-time jobs were added in December, while part-time employment decreased by 269k. Since November 2007, when the household survey showed peak employment, full-time jobs have decreased by 1.9 million and part-time jobs have increased by 2.7 million.
Part-time employees made up 18.66% of the workforce in December, down from 18.86% in November.
Those part-time for economic reasons, workers who would prefer to be full-time but are involuntarily part-time, as a share of those part-time for noneconomic reasons increased to 34.4% from 34.3%.
The unemployment rate (U-3) was 5.6% in December, down from 5.8% in November. The broader underemployment rate (U-6) decreased to 11.2% from 11.4%.
Youth unemployment continues to be volatile.
Unemployment for those with less than a high school diploma increased to 8.6%.
Blacks continue to experience the highest unemployment rate at 10.4%.
The labor force participation rate decreased to 62.7% from 62.9%, while the employment-to-population ratio was also unchanged at 59.2%.
Participation among men decreased to 69.0% from 69.1% and participation among women increased to 57.1% from 57.0%.
The participation rate for prime age workers (25-54) fell to 80.8% from 81.0% in November.
Since the total participation rate peaked in August 2008, participation has only risen in the 55+ age bracket.
Average weekly hours worked by production and supervisory employees increased to 33.9 from 33.8, while average hourly earnings dropped to $20.68 from $20.74. Average hourly earnings have increased 1.62% from a year ago.
Average duration of unemployment in December was 32.8 weeks, down from 33.0 in November. This metric reached a high of 40.7 in 2011, and is still elevated by historical standards.
Of those unemployed, 46.5% have been so for 15 weeks or longer.
This was another month of strong growth in payrolls with good industry mix. The household survey showed the full-time/part-time job split was positive, and the share of those working part-time for economic reasons is declining.
However, labor force participation is still falling, and average unemployment duration remains stubbornly high. The share of the unemployed who have been so for more than 15 weeks increased, meaning that the high average unemployment duration number is not entirely driven by those who have been jobless for extreme periods of time.
Finally, the horrendously slow growth in hourly earnings highlights that maybe the labor market is not as tight as other indicators may suggest.