US total nonfarm payroll employment climbs 148,000 in December 2017

The US unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1% despite US total nonfarm payroll employment increasing by 148,000 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Majority of the gains in employment occurred in the manufacturing, construction and health industry.

Data revealed the unemployment rate was 4.1% for the third consecutive month as seen in the table below. The number unemployed persons at the end of December 2017 totalled 6.6 million. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.6 percentage point and 926,000, respectively.” Participation rate in the labour force was unchanged both over the month and over the year at 62.7%.


Within the Health Care industry, employment continued to trend upward with 31,000 jobs added in December 2017. The industry added a total of 300,000 jobs in 2017, down from the  379,000 jobs added in 2016.

Construction added 30,000 jobs in December 2017 with majority or the jobs stemming from specialty trade contractors. Employment in the construction industry increased 210,000 following a gain of 155,000 in 2016.

The manufacturing industry employed 25,000 person in December, the increase was traced to a gain in the durable goods industries by 21,000. A total of 196,000 jobs was added by the manufacturing industry in 2017, following little net change in 2016 (-16,000).

The food services and drinking places added 25,000 jobs in December 2017 while the professional and business services employed 19,000 in the same month. The ‘food services and drinking places’ added 249,000 jobs, while the ‘professional and business services’ industry added an average of 44,000 jobs per month, in line with its average monthly gain in 2016.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment in retail trade was about unchanged in December (-20,000). Within the industry, employment in general merchandise stores declined by 27,000 over the month. Retail trade employment edged down in 2017 (-67,000), after increasing by 203,000 in 2016.” “Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed little over the month.”