January 5, 2018

December 2017 Jobs Report

Unemployment Rate: 4.1 percent

Jobs Created:  148,000

Employment and Unemployment

  1. The Department of Labor reported an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent for December, unchanged from last month. 

  2. Today’s jobs report shows an increase of 148,000 nonfarm jobs in December. Employment for October was revised down from 244,000 to 211,000, and November was revised up from 228,000 jobs to 252,000 jobs.  

  3. The U.S. has created 2,374,000 new jobs since President Trump was elected in November 2016. 

  4. Unemployment in December among those ages 16-19 was 13.6 percent, down 2.3 percentage points from last month. For people of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, up from 4.8 percent in November. For African-Americans, the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, down from 0.4 percent in November.

  5. The number of long-term unemployed, those unemployed for 27 weeks or more, was 1.5 million, nearly unchanged from last month. They account for 22.9 percent of the unemployed, down from 23.9 percent in the prior month.

  6. The “real” unemployment or U-6 rate is 8.1 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from last month. The U-6 figure represents the total percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers. 

  7. By this measure, the “real” number of unemployed Americans is 13.1 million. These are people who are unemployed (6.6 million), want work but have stopped searching for a job (1.6 million), or are working part time because they cannot find full-time employment (4.9 million).  

  8. In December, employment grew by 19,000 in professional and business services; 25,000 in manufacturing; 31,000 in health care; and 30,000 in construction. Since November 2016, manufacturing has added 214,000 new jobs. Government gained 2,000 jobs last month. Last month, employment in clothing and clothing accessory stores fell by 3,800 and in amusement, gambling, and recreation by 1,900.

  9. Following its most recent meeting on December 12-13, the Federal Reserve issued a statement saying: “Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in November indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate … the Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market conditions will remain strong. Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term.”

  10. In December, the Federal Reserve voted to raise interest rates to 1¼ to 1½ percent, following rate a rate increase in June. The December rate increase was the fourth rate increase since December 2016. 

  11. The Federal Reserve meets next January 30-31.   

Labor Force Participation

  1. The labor force participation rate is 62.7 percent, unchanged from last month.

  2. Since October 2013, the participation rate has largely been stuck in a narrow range of 62.5 to 63 percent. Prior to the recession, the rate was 66 percent.

  3. The share of American adults with jobs in December was 60.1 percent, unchanged from last month. This is nearly 4 percentage points below its pre-recession peak.


  1. In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents to $26.63. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent.

Issue Tag: Labor