Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in December, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported January 6. The unemployment rate has remained in a narrow range of 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent since March. The number of unemployed persons edged down to 5.7 million in December.
Payroll employment rose by 4.5 million in 2022 (an average monthly gain of 375,000), less than the increase of 6.7 million in 2021 (an average monthly gain of 562,000). Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (+67,000), health care- (+55,000), construction (+28,000), social assistance (+20,000), other services (+14,000), retail trade (+9,000), manufacturing (+8,000), transportation and warehousing (+5,000), mining (+4,000), and government (+3,000). Employment in professional and business services changed little in December (-6,000) along with other major industries, including wholesale trade, information, and financial activities.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Whites fell to 3.0 percent in December. The jobless rates for adult men (3.1 percent), adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (10.4 percent), Blacks (5.7 percent), Asians (2.4 percent), and Hispanics (4.1 percent) showed little or no change over the month.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 146,000 to 1.1 million in December. This measure is down from 2.0 million a year earlier. The long- term unemployed accounted for 18.5 percent of all unemployed persons.
The employment-population ratio increased by 0.2 percentage point over the month to 60.1 percent. The labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.3 percent. Both measures have shown little net change since early 2022. These measures are each 1.0 percentage point below their values in February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 3.9 million, changed little in December. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.
The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job fell by 352,000 to 5.2 million in December and is little different from its February 2020 level of 5.1 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.
Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force declined by 231,000 to 1.3 million in December. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, numbered 410,000 in December, essentially unchanged from the previous month.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
From WCI's HR Answers Now ©2023 CCH Incorporated and its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Tags: Employers' Blog Posts