The U.S. economy added 156,000 non-farm payroll positions in December, according to today's monthly employment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This seasonally adjusted figure marks a 23.5 percent decrease from November's upwardly revised addition of 204,000 jobs, and falls significantly short of the Wall Street Journal's expectation of 183,000 positions.
The national unemployment rate rose marginally from November's 4.6 percent to 4.7 percent in December, in line with economists' expectations, while the labor-force participation rate was unchanged at 62.7 percent.
On average, employers had been adding an average of 180,000 jobs per month from January to November, making December's report a lackluster end to 2016. According to the Wall Street Journal, 2016 marked the lowest rate of job creation since 2012, and was a stark contrast to 2014 and 2015 when employment expanded at the fastest rate since 1999. However, wage growth made major gains in December, jumping $0.10 from November to $26 per hour, a 2.9 percent increase from December 2015, when average hourly earnings were $25.26. December's figure marks the largest 12-month increase since mid-2009.
The construction industry shed 3,000 payroll positions in December, following two months of growth. Residential construction employment also declined by 1,900 in December, likely impacted by the not unexpected seasonal slowdown. The manufacturing sector rebounded from months of decline, adding 17,000 jobs in December. Meanwhile, payrolls in the architectural and engineering services sector added 3,700 positions in December, following November's break of six consecutive months of growth.
From the BLS's historical data release: The BLS also releases detailed information subsets of key markets with a one-month lag, in this case offering more detailed information of the architectural and engineering services category's response to the broader economy's hiring slowdown, which began in June. The charts below highlight a monthly job-growth breakdown of the architectural services, landscape architectural services, and engineering and drafting services between September 2015 and September 2016. Details of these subcategories' performance in October will be revealed in next month's historical data release.