The U.S. economy gained 312,000Â jobs in December, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.9%,Â according to figures released this morningÂ by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This report shows an increase in unemployed workers and while wage gains are stronger, they are not consistent with a tight labor market. ThisÂ ongoing financial and economic volatility means that the Federal Reserve needs to hold off on more rate increases.
Last month’s biggest job gains were in health care (50,000), professional and business services (43,000), food services and drinking places (41,000), construction (38,000), manufacturing (32,000) and retail trade (24,000). Employment in other major industriesâ€”including mining, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities and governmentâ€”showed little changeÂ over the month.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates rose forÂ blacks (6.6%),Â adult men (3.6%) and Asians (3.3%). The jobless rate forÂ teenagers (12.5%), Hispanics (4.4%), adult women (3.5%) andÂ whites (3.4%)Â and showed little or no change in December.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined slightly in December and accounted for 20.5% of the unemployed.
This blog was originally published by the AFL-CIO on January 4, 2019. Reprinted with permission.Â
About the Author:Â Kenneth Quinnell is a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist. Before joining the AFL-CIO in 2012, he worked as labor reporter for the blog Crooks and Liars.