WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2015) — Nonfarm payroll employment in the U.S. increased by 252,000 jobs in December 2014, and the unemployment rate fell from 5.8 to 5.6 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
In 2014, employment increased by a monthly average of 246,000 jobs, compared with 194,000 in 2013, the BLS reported Jan. 9.
The greatest job gains were in professional and business services (up 52,000), construction (up 48,000) and food service and drinking places (up 44,000). Manufacturing jobs increased by 17,000, and wholesale trade also trended up, but retail trade and transportation/warehousing changed little in December, according to the BLS.
The U.S. gained a total of 186,000 manufacturing jobs in 2014, said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
According to Mr. Paul, the slower manufacturing job growth in December “portends some of the challenges an overly strong dollar, weak global demand and high goods trade deficits may bring in 2015.
“Congress and the president need to hold China and Japan accountable for currency manipulation and mercantilism, and invest in our infrastructure,” he said.
Two days before the BLS report, payroll services firm ADP Inc. released its monthly employment study, saying that U.S. employment grew by 241,000 jobs in December.
Small business employment grew by 106,000 jobs, according to ADP — 46,000 in firms employing between 1 and 19 workers, and 60,000 in companies employing 20 to 49.
Medium businesses — those employing 50 to 499 — added 70,000 jobs during the month, ADP said. Large businesses grew by 66,000 jobs, including 22,000 in companies employing 500-999 and 44,000 in companies employing 1,000 or more, the firm said.
Manufacturing added 23,000 jobs in December, compared with 23,000 in construction, 59,000 in professional/business services and 44,000 in trade/transportation/utilities, ADP said.