The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that total nonfarm employment increased by a robust 292,000 jobs in December, although there was a loss of 4,900 jobs in accounting and bookkeeping services.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent. 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.
Temporary help services accounted for 34,000 of the 73,000 jobs gained in professional and business services. In 2015, the professional and business services segment, which includes accounting and bookkeeping services, added 605,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 704,000 in 2014.
In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $25.24, changed little, declining only 1 cent, following an increase of 5 cents in November. Over the course of the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $21.22, changed little, increasing only 2 cents.
The BLS also revised upward on Friday the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October and November. The October jobs figure increased from 298,000 to 307,000, and the change for November was also revised upward from 211,000 to 252,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 50,000 higher than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 284,000 per month.
“While this report is better than expected, millions of more Americans would be working today if the Obama Administration had spent less time growing Washington and more time growing our local economy,” said House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, in a statement. “When so many people remain unemployed and underemployed, we must continue to take more action. If President Obama wants to make a real difference during his last year in office, he’ll use his final State of the Union Address to propose new ways to break down barriers to job creation and encourage economic growth.”