Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 199,000 in December, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing. This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry. For more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these two surveys, see the Technical Note. _______________________________________________________________________________________ | | | Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data | | | | Seasonally adjusted household survey data have been revised using updated seasonal | | adjustment factors, a procedure done at the end of each calendar year. Seasonally | | adjusted estimates back to January 2017 were subject to revision. The unemployment | | rates for January 2021 through November 2021 (as originally published and as revised) | | appear in table A at the end of this news release, along with additional information | | about the revisions. | |_______________________________________________________________________________________| Household Survey Data The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 3.9 percent in December, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 483,000 to 6.3 million. Over the year, these measures are down by 2.8 percentage points and 4.5 million, respectively. In February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, and unemployed persons numbered 5.7 million. (See table A-1. See the box note at the end of this news release for more information about how the household survey and its measures were affected by the coronavirus pandemic.) Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.6 percent), adult women (3.6 percent), and Whites (3.2 percent) declined in December. The jobless rates for teenagers (10.9 percent), Blacks (7.1 percent), Asians (3.8 percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent) showed little or no change over the month. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.) Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers, at 1.7 million in December, declined by 202,000 over the month and is down by 1.8 million over the year. The number of persons on temporary layoff was little changed at 812,000 in December but is down by 2.3 million over the year. The number of permanent job losers in December is 408,000 higher than in February 2020, while the number on temporary layoff has essentially returned to its February 2020 level. (See table A-11.) The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 185,000 to 2.0 million in December. This measure is down from 4.0 million a year earlier but is 887,000 higher than in February 2020. The long-term unemployed accounted for 31.7 percent of the total unemployed in December. (See table A-12.) The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 61.9 percent in December but remains 1.5 percentage points lower than in February 2020. The employment-population ratio increased by 0.2 percentage point to 59.5 percent in December but is 1.7 percentage points below its February 2020 level. Over the year, these measures have increased by 0.4 percentage point and 2.1 percentage points, respectively. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 3.9 million in December, decreased by 337,000 over the month. The over-the-year decline of 2.2 million brings this measure to 461,000 below its February 2020 level. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.) The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was little changed at 5.7 million in December. This measure decreased by 1.6 million over the year but is 717,000 higher than in February 2020. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job. (See table A-1.) Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force was essentially unchanged at 1.6 million in December. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was also essentially unchanged over the month, at 463,000. (See Summary table A.) Household Survey Supplemental Data In December, the share of employed persons who teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic was 11.1 percent, little different from November. These data refer to employed persons who teleworked or worked at home for pay at some point in the 4 weeks preceding the survey specifically because of the pandemic. In December, 3.1 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic--that is, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours at some point in the 4 weeks preceding the survey due to the pandemic. This measure was down from the level of 3.6 million in November. Among those who reported in December that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 15.9 percent received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked, little changed from the prior month. Among those not in the labor force in December, 1.1 million persons were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, little changed from November. (To be counted as unemployed, by definition, individuals must be either actively looking for work or on temporary layoff.) These supplemental data come from questions added to the household survey beginning in May 2020 to help gauge the effects of the pandemic on the labor market. The data are not seasonally adjusted. Tables with estimates from the supplemental questions for all months are available online at www.bls.gov/cps/effects-of-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic.htm. Establishment Survey Data Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 199,000 in December. Job growth averaged 537,000 per month in 2021. Nonfarm employment has increased by 18.8 million since April 2020 but is down by 3.6 million, or 2.3 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. In December, employment continued to trend up in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing. (See table B-1. See the box note at the end of this news release for more information about how the establishment survey and its measures were affected by the coronavirus pandemic.) Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in December (+53,000). Leisure and hospitality has added 2.6 million jobs in 2021, but employment in the industry is down by 1.2 million, or 7.2 percent, since February 2020. Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 43,000 in December but is down by 653,000 since February 2020. Employment in professional and business services continued its upward trend in December (+43,000). Over the month, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+10,000), in architectural and engineering services (+9,000), and in scientific research and development services (+6,000). Employment in professional and business services overall is slightly below (-35,000) its level in February 2020. Manufacturing added 26,000 jobs in December, primarily in durable goods industries. A job gain in machinery (+8,000) reflected the return of workers from a strike. Manufacturing employment is down by 219,000 since February 2020. Construction employment rose by 22,000 in December, following monthly gains averaging 38,000 over the prior 3 months. In December, job gains occurred in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+13,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+10,000). Construction employment is 88,000 below its February 2020 level. Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 19,000 in December. Job gains occurred in support activities for transportation (+7,000), in air transportation (+6,000), and in warehousing and storage (+5,000). Employment in couriers and messengers was essentially unchanged. Since February 2020, employment in transportation and warehousing is up by 218,000, reflecting job growth in couriers and messengers (+202,000) and in warehousing and storage (+181,000). Employment in wholesale trade increased by 14,000 in December but is 129,000 lower than in February 2020. Mining employment rose by 7,000 in December. Employment in the industry is down by 81,000 from a peak in January 2019. In December, employment showed little or no change in other major industries, including retail trade, information, financial activities, health care, other services, and government. In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 19 cents to $31.31. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.7 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 18 cents to $26.61. (See tables B-3 and B-8.) The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.7 hours in December. In manufacturing, the average workweek edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.3 hours, and overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.) The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised up by 102,000, from +546,000 to +648,000, and the change for November was revised up by 39,000, from +210,000 to +249,000. With these revisions, employment in October and November combined is 141,000 higher than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)
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