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Final jobs report of 2022

The Bottom Line: by Charles Aull

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The final jobs report of 2022, released this morning, showed continued signs of job growth and record-low unemployment in the last month of the year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly “Employment Situation” report, the U.S. economy added 223,000 nonfarm payroll positions and the unemployment rate declined from 3.6 percent to 3.5 percent between November and December. The unemployment rate measures individuals without a job but actively seeking one – not individuals receiving unemployment benefits.

Many economists had anticipated slightly weaker job growth in December and a possible unemployment rate rise. Leading sectors for job growth included leisure and hospitality, health care, and construction. The record-low unemployment rate indicates laid-off workers or new workers can find employment opportunities quickly.

The U.S. labor force’s overall size increased, driving the workforce participation rate from 62.2 percent to 62.3 percent. The labor force includes employed individuals and those not working but looking for work. Total employment levels increased while total unemployment levels decreased.

“Today’s jobs report points to an economy that seems to be continuing to grow despite headwinds from high inflation and rising interest rates,” said Kentucky Chamber Center for Policy and Research Executive Director Charles Aull. “Growth in the overall size of the U.S. workforce and an uptick in workforce participation are welcome signs as employers continue to struggle to fill open positions to meet consumer demands for goods and services.”

Information on job growth and unemployment in Kentucky during December will be released later this month. As of November 2022, Kentucky’s unemployment rate was 4.0 percent and its workforce participation rate was 57.7 percent, one of the lowest participation rates in the nation.