US Nonfarm Payroll Increases by 223,000 in December; Unemployment Dips to 3.5%

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today (1-6-23) that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in December. Payroll employment increased by 4.5 million in 2022—an average monthly gain of 375,000, which is less than the 6.7 million increase in 2021, or an average monthly gain of 562,000.

The BLS is reported that job growth was once again widespread in December, with notable growth occurring in the following:

  • Leisure and hospitality added 67,000 new jobs, with food service and drinking places gaining 26,000 positions.
  • Health care added 55,000 new jobs.
  • Construction employment increased by 28,000, as specialty trade contractors added 17,000 jobs.
  • Social assistance added 20,000 new positions.
  • Other services industry increased by 14,000 jobs.
  • Retail traded added 9,000 new jobs
  • Manufacturing added 8,000 new jobs.

Employment was little changed in other major industries, including mining and wholesale trade.

In December, the unemployment rate dipped to 3.5% and continues to hold in a narrow range of 3.5% to 3.7% since March 2022. The number of unemployed persons edged lower as well, falling to 5.7 million in December.

The BLS notes that monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimate and from recalculations of seasonal factors. As a result, the total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down by 21,000, from 284,000 to 263,000; and November was revised down by 7,000, from 263,000 to 256,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 28,000 lower than previously reported.

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