Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press 
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that 
the data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.


                           Statement of

                         Erica L. Groshen
                           Commissioner
                    Bureau of Labor Statistics

                      Friday, January 8, 2016


      Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 292,000 in 
December, and the unemployment rate held at 5.0 percent. Job 
growth occurred in several industries, led by professional and 
business services, construction, health care, and food services 
and drinking places. Mining employment continued to decline.

      Incorporating revisions for October and November, which 
increased nonfarm payroll employment by 50,000, monthly job 
gains have averaged 284,000 over the past 3 months. In 2015, job 
growth averaged 221,000 per month, compared with an average of 
260,000 per month in 2014.

      Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs in 
December. Much of the gain occurred in temporary help services 
(+34,000). In 2015, employment in professional and business 
services increased by an average of 50,000 per month, compared 
with an average of 59,000 in 2014. 

      Construction showed strong job growth for the third 
consecutive month, gaining 45,000 jobs in December. Employment 
rose among specialty trade contractors (+29,000) and in 
construction of buildings (+10,000). Over the year, construction 
added 263,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 338,000 jobs in 
2014.

      Health care also continued to add jobs in December 
(+39,000), with gains in ambulatory care services (+23,000) and 
hospitals (+12,000). In 2015, monthly job gains in health care 
averaged 40,000, compared with an average of 26,000 in the 
previous year.

      Employment in food services and drinking places increased 
by 37,000 in December. Over the year, the industry added 357,000 
jobs.

      Within information, motion picture and sound recording 
industries added 15,000 jobs in December, offsetting a decline 
in the previous month. In the transportation and warehousing 
industry, employment rose among couriers and messengers 
(+15,000).

      Manufacturing employment changed little in December. In 
2015, factory employment overall was little changed (+30,000), 
following strong growth in 2014 (+215,000).

      Retail trade employment also changed little in December, 
following job gains in the previous 2 months. In December, job 
gains occurred in miscellaneous store retailers (+9,000), 
building material and garden supply stores (+9,000), and 
automobile dealers (+8,000). Employment in clothing and clothing 
accessories stores fell by 18,000 over the month. In 2015, 
retail trade added 274,000 jobs.

      Mining continued to lose jobs in December (-8,000). 
Employment in the industry declined by 129,000 in 2015. During 
the past year, mining lost about half of the jobs that were 
added in the prior 5 years. Most of these gains and losses were 
in support activities for mining.

      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls were little changed in December (-1 cent) at $25.24, 
following a 5-cent increase in November. Over the past 12 
months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. From 
November 2014 to November 2015, the Consumer Price Index for all 
Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was up by 0.4 percentage point (on a 
seasonally adjusted basis).

      Turning to data from the household survey, the unemployment 
rate in December was 5.0 percent for the third month in a row. 
The number of unemployed, at 7.9 million in December, was 
essentially unchanged. Over the year, both the jobless rate and 
the number of unemployed were down, by 0.6 percentage point and 
800,000, respectively. In December, 2.1 million of the 
unemployed, or 26.3 percent, had been jobless for 27 weeks or 
more.

      The labor force participation rate, at 62.6 percent, was 
little changed in December and has shown little movement in 
recent months. The employment-population ratio, at 59.5 percent, 
also changed little over the month.

      Among the employed, the number working part time for 
economic reasons, also referred to as involuntary part-time 
workers, was little changed in December, at 6.0 million. The 
number of these workers was down by 764,000 over the year. 
(Involuntary part-time workers are those who would have 
preferred full-time employment but were working part time 
because their hours had been cut back or because they were 
unable to find full-time work.)

      Among people who were neither working nor looking for work 
in December, 1.8 million were classified as marginally attached 
to the labor force, down from 2.3 million a year earlier. The 
number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally 
attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was 
663,000 in December, little different from a year earlier. (The 
marginally attached are individuals who had not looked for work 
in the 4 weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, were 
available for work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 
months.)

      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 292,000 
in December, and the unemployment rate held at 5.0 percent.




Last Modified Date: January 08, 2016