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Jobs increase falls below expectations in December

Gains seen in health care, construction and manufacturing

Jobs increased in December, but far below the increase experts were expecting, according to the latest release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 148,000 in December, the report showed. This is down from November’s upwardly revised increase of 252,000 jobs.

It is also far below experts’ expectations for December. Experts predicted the month would show an increase of 190,000, 210,000 or even 250,000.

The total growth for the year came in at 2.1 million jobs in 2017, compared to a gain of 2.2 million jobs in 2016.

Here are some of the areas which showed major changes in December:

  • Employment in health care increased by 31,000
  • Employment in Construction increased 30,000
  • Manufacturing increased by 25,000
  • Employment in food services and drinking places increased 25,000
  • Employment in professional and business services increased by 19,000
  • Employment in retail trade decreased 20,000

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and government, changed little over the month.

The unemployment rate remained at 4.1% in December for the third consecutive month, and the number of unemployed persons, 6.6 million, remained essentially unchanged. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.6 percentage points and 926,000, respectively.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged at 34.5 hours in December.

The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by nine cents in December to $26.63. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 65 cents, or 2.5%.

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