Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1/9/15 — Job gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing.
Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 252,000 in December, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Household Survey Data
The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.6 percent in December, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 383,000 to 8.7 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.1 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women (5.0 percent) decreased by 0.2 percentage point in December, while the rates for adult men (5.3 percent), teenagers (16.8 percent), whites (4.8 percent), blacks (10.4 percent), and Hispanics (6.5 percent) showed little change. The jobless rate for Asians, at 4.2 percent (not seasonally adjusted), changed little from a year earlier.
In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) was essentially unchanged at 2.8 million and accounted for 31.9 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.1 million.
The civilian labor force participation rate edged down by 0.2 percentage point to 62.7 percent in December. Since April, the participation rate has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 to 62.9 percent. In December, the employment-population ratio was 59.2 percent for the third consecutive month. However, the employment-population ratio is up by 0.6 percentage point over the year.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in December at 6.8 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
In December, 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 740,000 discouraged workers in December, down by 177,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in December had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Link to statistical tables: www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm