January 4, 2019

December 2018 Jobs Report

Unemployment Rate: 3.9 percent

Jobs Created: 312,000

Employment and Unemployment

  1. The Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 3.9 percent in December. One year ago, unemployment stood at 4.1 percent.

  2. Nonfarm jobs grew by 312,000 in December. Sectors with gains include construction (38,000), manufacturing (32,000), and health care (50,000).

  3. Job growth in the previous two months was stronger than originally reported. The department revised the numbers for October and November upward by 58,000 combined, which brings the three-month average to 254,000 new jobs per month.

  4. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law, the U.S. has created more than 2.6 million jobs.

  5. The U-6 rate, a measure of unemployed and underemployed workers, held steady at 7.6 percent. By this measure, roughly 12.6 million Americans are unemployed. They include those who are unemployed (6.3 million), want work but have not looked for a job recently (1.6 million), or who are working part time because they cannot find full-time jobs (4.7 million).

  6. The number of long-term unemployed, those unemployed for 27 weeks or more, was 1.3 million, down by 205,000 from a year ago. They account for 20.5 percent of the unemployed.  

Labor Force Participation

  1. The labor force participation rate, the share of people employed or looking for work, ticked up 0.2 percentage points to 63.1 percent. It is below the pre-recession rate of 66 percent.


  1. In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 11 cents to $27.48. It is a 3.2 percent increase from a year ago.

Issue Tag: Labor