U.S. Economy Finishes 2015 Strong by Adding 292,000 Jobs in December

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The U.S. economy finished strong in 2015 by adding 292,000 jobs in December while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent, according to ‘THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — DECEMBER 2015’ released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS report found that the number of unemployed persons, 7.9 million, was unchanged in December 2015 while employment rose in several industries, including professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking places.

  • Professional and business services employment in increased by 73,000 jobs in December, with temporary help services accounting for 34,000 of them. In 2015, professional and business services added 605,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 704,000 jobs in 2014.
  • Construction employment gained 45,000 jobs in December. Over the year, construction added 263,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 338,000 jobs in 2014.
  • Health care employment rose by 39,000 jobs in December. Job growth in health care averaged 40,000 jobs per month in 2015, compared with 26,000 jobs per month in 2014.
  • Food services and drinking places added 37,000 jobs in December. In 2015, the industry added 357,000 jobs.
  • Transportation and warehousing employment rose by 23,000 jobs in December, with a gain of 15,000 jobs in couriers and messengers.

On the negative side, mining employment continued to decline by losing 8,000 jobs in December for a total of 129,000 jobs lost in 2015. Employment in other industries such as manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial activities, and government changed little over the month.

Employment for October was revised from 298,000 to 307,000 jobs added, while the change for November was revised from 211,000 to 252,000 jobs added. With the revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 50,000 higher than previously reported.

Overall, the report found payroll employment growth totaled 2.7 million in 2015, compared with 3.1 million in 2014. The Employment Situation for January 2016 is scheduled to be released on Friday, February 5, 2016, at www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf.

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