WASHINGTON — Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 312,000 jobs in December, a larger-than-expected gain, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The unemployment rate for December edged up to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent, largely because of an infusion of people entering the job market, according to the report issued Jan. 4.
The job sectors reporting the largest gains in December included health care (up 50,000 jobs), professional and business services (up 43,000), food services and drinking places (up 41,000), construction (up 38,000), manufacturing (up 32,000) and retail trade (up 24,000), the BLS said.
On Jan. 3, payroll services firm ADP Inc. reported similarly strong job results for December.
According to the ADP monthly report, private sector employment increased by 271,000 jobs for December. Medium-sized businesses (50 to 499 employees) posted the largest gains, with 129,000 new jobs, ADP said.
Small businesses (one to 49 employees) grew by 89,000 jobs, while large businesses (500 employees and up) gained 54,000, the report said.
Goods-producing sectors gained 47,000 jobs in December, according to ADP. Construction grew by 37,000 jobs and manufacturing by 12,000, but mining lost 2,000 jobs, the report said.