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Friday, January 8, 2016

December 2015 Unemployment Rate, Jobs


The December Jobs Reports were released this morning, Friday, January 8. The economy added 292,000 new jobs, a much higher number than expected,  while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0%.
Remember that jobs numbers are seasonally adjusted, so the big jump in numbers of jobs is NOT due to temporary part-time Christmas jobs.
A 2015 Highlight:

  • Over 2,000,000 jobs have been added each year for the past five years, from 2011 to 2015, inclusive.  The only other period of five years or more of consecutive additions of 2,000,000 or more jobs was during the Clinton years from 1993 to 1999 inclusive.

From the BLS Employment Situation report:
"The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised from +298,000 to +307,000, and the change for November was revised from +211,000 to +252,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 50,000 higher than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 284,000 per month." 

December Highlights:
  • 292,000 total new payroll jobs.
  • 275,000 new private sector jobs.
  • 17,000 increase in the number of government jobs.
  • These numbers are much higher than the 200,000 to 205,000 new jobs estimated by the various "pundits". 
  • The unemployment rate stayed exactly the same at 5.0% as the number of unemployed decreased slightly by 20,000 and as the number of people employed increased by 485,000.  The number of people in the labor force (people working and people looking for work) increased by 466,000. 
  • The number of people not in the labor force (people 16 years of age and older who are in school, retired, e home with children, etc.) decreased by 277,000 slightly to 94,103,000 due to the large number of people entering the labor force.  
  • Alternate unemployment rate stayed the same at 9.9% to 9.9%.  
  • The labor force participation rate increased slightly to 62.6% due to the large number of people entering or re-entering the labor force.  (The labor force participation rate has been between  62.4%  and 62.6% for the past six months.)  
  • Year over year, we have about 1,700,000 MORE people in the labor force DESPITE large numbers of Baby Boomers retiring.  Remember that there is NO ideal labor force participation rate and most of the overall decrease in the labor force participation rate is due to these large numbers of retiring Baby Boomers.
  • The number of people working full-time increased by a HHHUGE 504,000 last month.
  • The number of people working part-time increased by about 27,000 last month. 
  • The number of people working part-time INVOLUNTARILY DECREASED by 63,000 and the number of people working part-time VOLUNTARILY INCREASED by 72,000.  
  • There are 2.6 million MORE people working full-time than there were a year ago, and 86,000 FEWER people working part-time than a year ago.
  • As mentioned above, the BLS increased both the October and November numbers.  October numbers were increased slightly by 9,000 from +198,000 to +207,000, and the November numbers were increased by 41,000 from +211,000 to +252,000.  Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged a very healthy 284,000 per month.

December 2015 reports: (As usual, notation on the links will be changed to "UPDATED for December" when the updated reports become available later today or over the weekend.  Not all reports are updated every month.) 

More highlights and reports will continue to be posted here throughout the day and over the weekend.  Please check back!


  1. During the State of the Union, President Obama said:

    “We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ’90s; an unemployment rate cut in half.”

    While President Obama often has touted what he often calls the “longest streak of private-sector job creation in history,” the average number of jobs created in this 70-month period is significantly lower than under either Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan. (When you exclude a single month of decline, in fact, Clinton and Reagan had streaks of 85 and 71 months, respectively.)

    The low point in jobs was reached in February 2010, and there has indeed been a gain of 13.6 million nonfarm jobs since then, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But it’s worth remembering that in the same period, the number of federal, state and local government jobs has actually declined by nearly 500,000.

    The unemployment rate was 7.8 percent when Obama took office in 2009, and now it is 5 percent. The president says it was cut in half by measuring from the high point reached during his presidency: 10 percent in October 2009.

    Still, even with the massive jobs losses at the start of his presidency, Obama can claim that nearly 9.3 million jobs were added since he took office. At this point in George W. Bush’s presidency, the comparable number was 1.3 million; and for Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, the figure was 21.2 million and 12.7 million, respectively.


  2. “Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years.”

    The low point for manufacturing jobs was reached in February 2010, and there has been a gain of 878,000 jobs since then. But Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the number of manufacturing jobs is still 230,000 fewer than when Obama took office in the depths of the recession — and 1.4 million fewer than when the recession began in December 2007. Indeed, the United States only gained 30,000 manufacturing jobs in all of 2015.

  3. He crowed about “more than 14 million new jobs,” when the net gain in total employment since he first took office is actually just under 9.3 million. What he didn’t spell out is that he was omitting the more than 4 million jobs lost during the first 13 months of his presidency, and ignoring losses of state and local government jobs as well.

    Though he did not make it clear, he was actually referring to the change only in private sector jobs, and only since the job losses hit bottom in February 2010.


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