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December Employment Report: 199 thousand Jobs, 3.9% Unemployment Rate

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From the BLS:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 199,000 in December, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised up by 102,000, from +546,000 to +648,000, and the change for November was revised up by 39,000, from +210,000 to +249,000. With these revisions, employment in October and November combined is 141,000 higher than previously reported.
emphasis added Click on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the year-over-year change in total non-farm employment since 1968.

In December, the year-over-year change was 6.45 million jobs.  This was up significantly year-over-year.

Total payrolls increased by 199 thousand in December.  Private payrolls increased by 211 thousand, and public payrolls declined 12 thousand.

Payrolls for October and November were revised up 141 thousand, combined.

The second graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms.

The current employment recession was by far the worst recession since WWII in percentage terms. However, the current employment recession, 20 months after the onset, is now significantly better than the worst of the “Great Recession”.

The third graph shows the employment population ratio and the participation rate.

The Labor Force Participation Rate was unchanged at 61.9% in December, from 61.9% in November. This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force.

The Employment-Population ratio increased to 59.5% from 59.3% (blue line).

I’ll post the 25 to 54 age group employment-population ratio graph later.

The fourth graph shows the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate decreased in December to 3.9% from 4.2% in November.

This was well below consensus expectations; however, October and November were revised up by 141,000 combined.  

I’ll have more later …

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