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U.S. Unemployment Rate Unchanged At 4.1%

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 148,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent. Employment gains occurred in health care, construction, and manufacturing.


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 148,000 in December, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment gains occurred in health care, construction, and manufacturing.

  |                                                                                  |
  |                   Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data          |
  |                                                                                  |
  |Seasonally adjusted household survey data have been revised using updated seasonal|
  |adjustment factors, a procedure done at the end of each calendar year. Seasonally |
  |adjusted estimates back to January 2013 were subject to revision. The unemployment|
  |rates for January 2017 through November 2017 (as originally published and as      |
  |revised) appear in table A, along with additional information about the revisions.|

Household Survey Data

In December, the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent for the third consecutive month. The
number of unemployed persons, at 6.6 million, was essentially unchanged over the month.
Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by
0.6 percentage point and 926,000, respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers declined to 13.6
percent in December, offsetting an increase in November. In December, the unemployment
rates for adult men (3.8 percent), adult women (3.7 percent), Whites (3.7 percent),
Blacks (6.8 percent), Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent) showed little
or no change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of new entrants decreased by 116,000 in December. New
entrants are unemployed persons who never previously worked. (See table A-11.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little
changed at 1.5 million in December and accounted for 22.9 percent of the unemployed.
Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 354,000. (See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, was unchanged over the month and
over the year. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 60.1 percent in December
but was up by 0.3 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.) 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as
involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 4.9 million in December but
was down by 639,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time
employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they
were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In December, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, about
unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals
were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job
sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not
searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 474,000 discouraged workers in December, little
changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers
are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available
for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in
December had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family
responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 in December. Job gains occurred in health
care, construction, and manufacturing. In 2017, payroll employment growth totaled 2.1
million, compared with a gain of 2.2 million in 2016. (See table B-1.)

Employment in health care increased by 31,000 in December. Employment continued to trend
up in ambulatory health care services (+15,000) and hospitals (+12,000). Health care
added 300,000 jobs in 2017, compared with a gain of 379,000 jobs in 2016.

Construction added 30,000 jobs in December, with most of the increase among specialty
trade contractors (+24,000). In 2017, construction employment increased by 210,000,
compared with a gain of 155,000 in 2016.

In December, manufacturing employment rose by 25,000, largely reflecting a gain in
durable goods industries (+21,000). Manufacturing added 196,000 jobs in 2017, following
little net change in 2016 (-16,000).

Employment in food services and drinking places changed little in December (+25,000).
Over the year, the industry added 249,000 jobs, about in line with an increase of
276,000 in 2016.

In December, employment changed little in professional and business services (+19,000).
In 2017, the industry added an average of 44,000 jobs per month, in line with its
average monthly gain in 2016.

Employment in retail trade was about unchanged in December (-20,000). Within the industry,
employment in general merchandise stores declined by 27,000 over the month. Retail trade
employment edged down in 2017 (-67,000), after increasing by 203,000 in 2016.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, transportation
and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, changed little over
the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.5 hours in December. In manufacturing, the workweek edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.8
hours, while overtime remained at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and
nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.8 hours. (See
tables B-2 and B-7.)

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 65 cents, or
2.5 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory
employees increased by 7 cents to $22.30 in December. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down from
+244,000 to +211,000, and the change for November was revised up from +228,000 to
+252,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were
9,000 less than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports
received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and
from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged
204,000 over the last 3 months.

The Employment Situation for January is scheduled to be released on Friday,
February 2, 2018, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).

  |                                                                                  |
  |                       Upcoming Changes to the Household Survey                   |
  |                                                                                  |
  |Effective with the release of The Employment Situation for January 2018 on        |
  |February 2, 2018, new population controls will be used in the household survey    |
  |estimation process. These new controls reflect the annual updating of intercensal |
  |population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. In accordance with usual practice,|
  |historical data will not be revised to incorporate the new controls; consequently,|
  |household survey data for January 2018 will not be directly comparable with data  |
  |for December 2017 or earlier periods. A table showing the effects of the new      |
  |controls on the major labor force series will be included in the January 2018     |
  |release.                                                                          |

  |                                                                                    |
  |                                                                                    |
  |                   Upcoming Changes to Establishment Survey Data                    |
  |                                                                                    |
  |Effective with the release of The Employment Situation for January 2018 on          |
  |February 2, 2018, the establishment survey will introduce revisions to nonfarm      |
  |payroll employment, hours, and earnings data to reflect the annual benchmark        |
  |adjustment for March 2017 and updated seasonal adjustment factors. Not seasonally   |
  |adjusted data beginning with April 2016 and seasonally adjusted data beginning with |
  |January 2013 are subject to revision. Consistent with standard practice, some       |
  |historical data may be subject to revisions resulting from issues identified during |
  |the benchmark process.                                                              |
  |                                                                                    |
  |The establishment survey will also revise the basis for industry classification     |
  |from the 2012 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to the 2017     |
  |NAICS. The conversion will result in minor revisions reflecting content changes     |
  |within the mining and logging, retail trade, information, financial activities, and |
  |professional and business services sectors. Additionally, some smaller industries   |
  |will be combined within the mining and logging, durable goods manufacturing, retail |
  |trade, and information sectors. Several industry titles and descriptions also will  |
  |be updated.                                                                         |
  |                                                                                    |
  |Approximately 4 percent of employment will be reclassified into different industries|
  |as a result of the revision. Details of new, discontinued, and combined industries  |
  |due to the 2017 NAICS update, as well as changes due to the annual benchmarking     |
  |process, are available at                  |
  |                                                                                    |
  |For more information on the 2017 NAICS update, visit |

  |                                                                                    |
  |                Upcoming Changes to The Employment Situation News Release           |
  |                                                                                    |
  |Effective with the release of January 2018 data on February 2, 2018, the U.S. Bureau|
  |of Labor Statistics will introduce a minor change to The Employment Situation news  |
  |release table B-1. As a result of the update to the 2017 NAICS, the industry title  |
  |for general merchandise stores will change to general merchandise stores, including |
  |warehouse clubs and supercenters. A listing of all series changes as a result of the|
  |the 2017 NAICS update, including the industries published in news release table B-1,|
  |are available on the BLS website at        |

                 Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data

At the end of each calendar year, BLS routinely updates the seasonal adjustment factors
for the labor force series derived from the Current Population Survey (CPS), or household
survey. As a result of this process, seasonally adjusted data for January 2013 through
November 2017 were subject to revision. (Not seasonally adjusted data were not subject
to revision.)

Table A shows the unemployment rates for January 2017 through November 2017, as first
published and as revised. The rates changed by one-tenth of a percentage point in 1 of
the 11 months and were unchanged in the remaining 10 months. Revised seasonally adjusted
data for other major labor force series beginning in December 2016 appear in table B.

An article describing the seasonal adjustment methodology for the household survey
data and revised data for January 2017 through November 2017 is available at

Historical data for the household series contained in the A tables of this release
can be accessed at Revised historical seasonally
adjusted data are available at and

Table A. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in 2017 and changes due to revision
January - November 2017

       Month              As first published         As revised            Change

January.............            4.8                      4.8                 0.0
February............            4.7                      4.7                  .0
March...............            4.5                      4.5                  .0
April...............            4.4                      4.4                  .0
May.................            4.3                      4.3                  .0
June................            4.4                      4.3                 -.1
July................            4.3                      4.3                  .0
August..............            4.4                      4.4                  .0
September...........            4.2                      4.2                  .0
October.............            4.1                      4.1                  .0
November............            4.1                      4.1                  .0

Table B. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age, seasonally adjusted [Numbers in thousands]
Employment status, sex, and age20162017


Civilian noninstitutional population(1)


Civilian labor force


Participation rate




Employment-population ratio




Unemployment rate

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)


Civilian labor force


Participation rate




Employment-population ratio




Unemployment rate

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)


Civilian labor force


Participation rate




Employment-population ratio




Unemployment rate

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)


Civilian labor force


Participation rate




Employment-population ratio




Unemployment rate


(1) The population figures are not adjusted for seasonal variation.

NOTE: Seasonally adjusted data have been revised to reflect updated seasonal adjustment factors.

Posted by on January 5, 2018.

Categories: Trends

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