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Job Gains Disappoint, But Unemployment Remains at 50-Year Low

The economy added 145,000 in December, according to the latest report from the Labor Department….

  • January 15, 2020

The economy added 145,000 in December, according to the latest report from the Labor Department. This disappointed economists, who were expecting around 160,000. However, the unemployment rate remains at a 50-year low, at 3.5%.

Notable job gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining lost jobs.

In December, the unemployment rate held at 3.5 percent, and the number of unemployed persons was unchanged at 5.8 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.9 percent, and the number of unemployed persons was 6.3 million.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.1 percent), adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (12.6 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent), Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change in December.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.2 million, was unchanged in December and accounted for 20.5 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 63.2 percent in December.

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $28.32. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9 percent.

In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $23.79, were little changed (+2 cents).