Nonfarm payroll employment edged down (-85,000) in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 10.0%, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently. Employment fell in construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade, while temporary help services and health care added jobs.
In December, both the number of unemployed persons, at 15.3 million, and the unemployment rate, at 10.0%, were unchanged. At the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons was 7.7 million, and the unemployment rate was 5.0%.
Unemployment rates for the major worker groups–adult men (10.2%), adult women (8.2%), teenagers (27.1%), whites (9.0%), blacks (16.2%), and Hispanics (12.9%)–showed little change in December. The unemployment rate for Asians was 8.4%, not seasonally adjusted.
Among the unemployed, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) continued to trend up, reaching 6.1 million. In December, 4 in 10 unemployed workers were jobless for 27 weeks or longer.
The civilian labor force participation rate fell to 64.6% in December. The employment-population ratio declined to 58.2%.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was about unchanged at 9.2 million in December and has been relatively flat since March. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
About 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in December, an increase of 578,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 929,000 discouraged workers in December, up from 642,000 a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.