January 8, 2021

December 2020 Jobs Report

Unemployment Rate: 6.7 percent

Jobs Created: -140,000

Employment and Unemployment

  1. The Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate remained at 6.7% in December.

  2. Nonfarm jobs decreased by 140,000 in December, after seven months of job gains. Payroll declines were especially large in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants.

  3. In October and November, job creation was much stronger than first reported. The department revised the change in nonfarm jobs for those months up by a combined 135,000 jobs.    

  4. The U-6 unemployment rate, a broader measure that includes part-time and discouraged workers, decreased by 0.3 percentage point to 11.7% in December.

  5. DOL bases monthly jobs reports on a survey of businesses and a survey of households. The survey data relate to the pay period or calendar week containing the 12th day of the month. The report generally will not reflect labor market changes near the end of the month.

  6. The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. generally continued to rise from November into December. Some states had restrictions on businesses and gatherings to try to reduce the spread of the virus, and several states had stay-at-home orders, curfews, or advisories.

Labor Force Participation

  1. The labor force participation rate, the share of people employed or looking for work, remained at 61.5%.


  1. In December, average hourly earnings for all employees in private nonfarm jobs increased by $0.23 to $29.81, largely due to lower-paid workers in leisure and hospitality leaving payrolls.

Issue Tags: COVID-19, Labor