Group of smiling professionals with BLS jobs report and graph superimposed over image

The December Jobs Report: What is the Current US Employment Situation?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly look at the US employment situation and the data for December looks encouraging. The labor department jobs report examines a range of US jobs data to gauge the overall health of the US economy, specifically the number of jobs added, the unemployment rate, and what industries are hiring now.

Before we get to the December’s jobs report, let’s revisit November’s US job numbers. Last month, the BLS reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 266,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dropped very slightly to 3.5% (approximately 5.8 million professionals). A deeper look at the US jobs data and industries hiring in 2019 showed moderate growth in a few areas while others declined or registered no change at all.

  • Manufacturing – 54,000 jobs added
  • Healthcare – 45,000 jobs added
  • Leisure and hospitality – 45,000 jobs added
  • Professional and technical services – 31,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing – 16,000 jobs added
  • Mining – 7,000 jobs lost
  • Construction, wholesale trade, information, and government – no change

The December jobs report showed total nonfarm payroll employment jumping by 145,000, unemployment held steady at 3.5%, and the number of unemployed persons remained at 5.8 million. Here are some other highlights of the labor department jobs report:

  • The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged (1.2 million) and accounts for 20.5 percent of the unemployed.
  • The labor force participation rate held steady at 63.2 percent.
  • The number of people employed part time for economic reasons (AKA involuntary part-time workers) dropped slightly to 4.1 million.
  • Average hourly earnings for all employees on nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $28.32 after increasing by 7 cents in November. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9 percent.

December saw promising growth for a few industries hiring in 2019. Bolstered by the holiday season, retail trade led the way with 41,000 jobs added in December. Health care added 28,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality continued an upward trend with 40,000 new jobs, and construction added 20,000 jobs in December. Mining employment continued to decline with 8,000 jobs lost in December. Key industries like wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and government saw no change.

Overall, the labor department jobs report suggests the economy is in good shape. Whether you’re looking for top talent or searching for your dream job, there’s still plenty of opportunity out there, and you can find it on iHire.


For more information on how the BLS tracks and updates US job numbers and calculates the unemployment rate, check out this informative post on FiveThirtyEight.

By Freddie Rohner | January 10, 2020