Business & Economy

US economy added a robust 292,000 jobs in December

A job seeker views a business card during a Giant Job Fair in Detroit on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy added 292,000 jobs in December.
A job seeker views a business card during a Giant Job Fair in Detroit on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy added 292,000 jobs in December.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 292,000 jobs in December while unemployment held steady at 5 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of new jobs was higher than many economists had anticipated: NPR's John Ydstie says experts had expected about 200,000 new jobs.

In November, the BLS initially said the economy added 211,000 jobs — a "healthy pace," as NPR's Marilyn Geewax put it.

That number has now been revised upward, to 252,000. The job gains for October have also been revised up, from 298,000 to 307,000.

With the revised numbers, the past 3 months have seen an average of 284,000 new jobs each month. The unemployment rate has held at 5 percent all three months.

Professional and business services, restaurants, health care and construction showed some of the strongest growth, the Bureau says, while mining jobs declined and manufacturing jobs stayed stagnant.

The labor participation rate was little changed, and wages showed no growth in December. Over the year as a whole, average wages rose 2.5 percent, the BLS says.

The news comes during a week of turmoil in the international stock markets. Chinese stocks plunged this week, while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial average had their worst-ever start to a year.

Last month, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in the U.S. by .25 percentage points. It was the first change in the interest rate since 2008, and the first increase since 2006.

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