U.S. Economy Added 200,000 Jobs In December

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nation’s economy added 200,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate, at 8.5 percent, continued to trend down, according to data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics today. Job gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, retail trade, manufacturing, health care, and mining.

“Month by month, industry by industry, and state by state, America’s labor market grew stronger in 2011,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “We’re now seeing sustained job growth across almost every industry. We created nearly 2 million private sector jobs in 2011, and the unemployment rate fell in 45 states and the District of Columbia last year. Additionally, the number of mass layoffs continued to decline, with 14 of 19 industries reporting a decrease in layoffs over the year.”

Both the number of unemployed persons (13.1 million) and the unemployment rate (8.5 percent) continued to trend down in December. The unemployment rate has declined by 0.6 percentage point since August.

“Initial Unemployment Insurance claims have been well below 400,000 for the past month, the first time this has happened since June 2008,” Solis said.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men decreased to 8.0 percent in December. The jobless rates for adult women (7.9 percent), teenagers (23.1 percent), whites (7.5 percent), blacks (15.8 percent), and Hispanics (11.0 percent) showed little change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

There wasn’t much good news for the long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more.) That group still numbered 5.6 million and accounted for 42.5 percent of the total unemployed.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 371,000 to 8.1 million in December. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

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