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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Private sector employment in the United States increased by 252,000 jobs in December 2014 while the unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent, according to ‘THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — DECEMBER 2014’ jobs report released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The most recent jobs report from the BLS is available at

The December 2014 jobs report revealed the number of unemployed persons dropped to 8.7 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 1.1 percentage points and 1.7 million respectively. In 2014, job growth averaged 246,000 jobs per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 194,000 in 2013.

The jobs report for December 2014 found employment increased in professional and business services, construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing. Among specific industries, the jobs report found:

  • Professional and business services employment rose by 52,000 jobs in December 2014. Monthly job gains in the industry averaged 61,000 in 2014.
  • Construction employment added 48,000 jobs in December 2014, well above the employment gains in recent months.
  • Food services and drinking places employment increased by 44,000 jobs in December 2014. The industry added an average of 30,000 jobs per month in 2014.
  • Health care employment added 34,000 jobs in December 2014. Employment growth in health care averaged 26,000 jobs per month in 2014 and 17,000 per month in 2013.
  • Manufacturing employment increased by 17,000 jobs in December 2014 and added an average of 16,000 jobs per month in 2014 compared with an average gain of 7,000 jobs per month in 2013.
  • Wholesale trade and financial activities employment continued to trend up in December 2014 while employment in other major industries including retail trade, mining and logging, transportation and warehousing, information, and government changed little during the month.

In addition, the jobs report found the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised from 243,000 jobs added to 261,000 jobs added while the change for November was revised from 321,000 jobs added to 353,000 jobs added. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 50,000 more than previously reported.

The January 2014 jobs report is scheduled to be released on February 6, 2015.

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