US non-farm employment growth decelerates in December, while the rate of unemployment rises to 4.7%

January 9, 2017 8:42 am

Employers in all sectors of economy in the United States, excluding the farming industry, were reported to have added 156 000 new jobs in December, a figure which fell short of market expectations (+178 000). This way non-farm employment in the country grew by 2.2 million in 2016, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released on January 6th, slowing down from a total growth of 2.7 million in the preceding year. Job growth in November has been revised up to 204 000 from 178 000 previously.

In December, employment in health care expanded by 43 000, in social assistance – by 20 000, in food services and drinking places – by 30 000, in transportation and warehousing – by 15 000, in financial activities – by 13 000, while US manufacturing added 17 000 new jobs. On the other hand, employment in other key industries such as mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, information and governmental sector remained little changed last month.

Total non-farm payrolls account for 80% of the workers, who produce the entire Gross Domestic Product of the United States.

Average hourly earnings in the country were reported to have increased 0.4% (10 cents) to $26 in December compared to a month ago, following a 0.1% drop in November. Wage growth in December exceeded the median forecast by analysts. Average hourly earnings grew 2.9% during the past year, which has been the largest increase since 2009.

Meanwhile, the rate of unemployment in the country surged to 4.7% in December from 4.6% in November (a 9-year trough) in consonance with market consensus.

The total number of people unemployed remained almost unchanged at 7.5 million in December. Among major groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.4%), adult women (4.3%), teenagers (14.7%), Whites (4.3%), Blacks (7.8%), Asians (2.6%), and Hispanics (5.9%) changed little or not at all.

The number of long-term unemployed (those looking for employment for 27 weeks or more) remained nearly unchanged at 1.8 million during December and comprised 24.2% of the unemployed, according to the BLS. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed persons dropped by 263 000.

US blue chip benchmark Dow Jones 30 Industrial Average (DJI) added 0.32% (64.51) to its value on Friday, while closing at 19,963.80. During the session, the gauge came in proximity to 20,000.00, while touching an all-time high of 19,999.63. The index surged 1.02% during the week ended on January 8th to log its eighth gain in the past nine weeks and also the best performance since the week ended on December 11th. The Dow added 3.34% to its value in December to mark a second consecutive month of advance.

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