U.S. unemployment rate stood at 6.7% for December 2020

January 8, 2021

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell 140,000 in December, as the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7%, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). This decline in payroll employment was due to recent rise in coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to contain the pandemic. BLS mentioned that in December, “job losses in leisure and hospitality and in private education were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.”

Leisure and hospitality employment fell by 498,000 in December 2020. While in private education employment decreased by 63,000. Employment in government fell by 45,000 in December. Employment in other services declined by 22,000. Whereas employment in professional and business services added 161,000 jobs, and retail trade went up by 121,000 jobs. Construction employment increased by 51,000 jobs, transportation and warehousing increased by 47,000 jobs, employment in health care rose by 39,000 jobs. Notably, employment in manufacturing climbed by 38,000 jobs in December. Employment in wholesale trade increased by 25,000 while mining, information, and financial activities were little changed in December.

Notably, BLS stated, “the number of persons on temporary layoff increased by 277,000 in December to 3.0 million.” In December, the number of permanent job losers fell by 348,000 to 3.4 million. Also, the number of unemployed reentrants rose by 282,000 to 2.3 million over the month. While the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) stood at 4.0 million. Moreover, the number of unemployed persons who were jobless less than 5 weeks in December amounted to 2.9 million, an increase of 449,000.

The labour force participation rate for December stood at 61.5%, while the employment-population ratio stood at 57.4%. Nonetheless, persons employed part-time for economic reasons fell by 471,000 to 6.2 million in December. Based on BLS assessment, “these individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.”

In December, a total of 2.2 million individuals were slightly attached to the labour force. These persons were not in the labour force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the last year. Of the marginally attached, 663,000 persons were classified as discouraged workers in December, little change over the month. These persons are not currently seeking work as they believe no jobs are available for them.


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