Washington, D.C. – The U.S. added 292,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number of unemployed persons, at 7.9 million, was essentially unchanged in December, and the unemployment rate was 5.0 percent for the third month in a row. Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.6 percentage point and 800,000, respectively.
Employment gains occurred in several industries, led by professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking places. Mining employment continued to decline.
Employment in professional and business services increased by 73,000 in December, with temporary help services accounting for 34,000 of the gain. In 2015, professional and business services added 605,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 704,000 in 2014.
Construction showed strong job growth for the third consecutive month, gaining 45,000 jobs in December. Job gains occurred among specialty trade contractors (+29,000) and in construction of buildings (+10,000). Over the year, construction added 263,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 338,000 jobs in 2014.
In December, health care employment rose by 39,000, with most of the increase occurring in ambulatory health care services (+23,000) and hospitals (+12,000). Job growth in health care averaged 40,000 per month in 2015, compared with 26,000 per month in 2014.
Food services and drinking places added 37,000 jobs in December. In 2015, the industry added 357,000 jobs.
Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 23,000 in December, with a gain of 15,000 in couriers and messengers.
Within the information industry, motion pictures and sound recording added 15,000 jobs in December, offsetting a decline of 13,000 in the prior month.
Employment in mining continued to decline in December (-8,000). After adding 41,000 jobs in 2014, mining lost 129,000 jobs in 2015, with most of the loss in support activities for mining.
Manufacturing employment changed little in December, though its nondurable goods component added 14,000 jobs. In 2015, manufacturing employment was little changed (+30,000), following strong growth in 2014 (+215,000).