The U.S. unemployment rate didn’t budge from its 7.8 percent mark in December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number has held steady since September, and represents 12.2 million unemployed people.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 155,000 in December. In 2012, employment growth averaged 153,000 per month, the same as the average monthly gain for 2011. In December, employment increased in manufacturing, food services, construction and health care.
December manufacturing employment in particular rose by 25,000, with small gains in a number of component industries. In 2012, factory employment increased by 180,000; most of the growth occurred during the first quarter.
Construction added 30,000 jobs in December, led by employment increases in construction of buildings (+13,000) and in residential specialty trade contractors (+12,000).
Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, professional and businesses services, and government, showed little change over the month.
In December, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $23.73. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 6 cents to $19.92.