Nonfarm payroll employment declined sharply in December, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.8% to 7.2%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor reported recently. Payroll employment fell by 524,000 over the month and by 1.9 million over the last 4 months of 2008. In December, job losses were large and widespread across most major industry sectors.
In December, the number of unemployed persons increased by 632,000 to 11.1 million and the unemployment rate rose to 7.2%. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has grown by 3.6 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 2.3 percentage points.
The unemployment rates for adult men (7.2%), adult women (5.9%), and whites (6.6%) increased in December. The jobless rates for teenagers (20.8%), blacks (11.9%), and Hispanics (9.2%) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 5.1% in December, not seasonally adjusted.
Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs rose by 315,000 to 6.5 million in December. Over the past 12 months, the size of this group has increased by 2.7 million.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose to 2.6 million in December and was up by 1.3 million in 2008.