Key Points:

  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in December as the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5%.
  • Consensus among economists was a gain of 200,000 jobs.
  • In December, the unemployed population fell to 5.7 million but there were 10.5 million job openings in November.
  • Leisure and hospitality added 67,000 jobs in December, employment in health care rose by 55,000, construction added 20,000 jobs, and manufacturing added 8,000 jobs.
  • In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by $0.09 to $32.82.
  • The average workweek for all private employees fell by 0.1 hours to 34.3.
  • The labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.3% and is 1.0% below its February 2020 level.