Jobs report: Economy added 155K jobs in December
WASHINGTONThe U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs this past December, and the unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent, according to latest data released Friday by the Labor Department.
November's rate was revised higher from an initially reported 7.7 percent.
Robust hiring in manufacturing and construction fueled the gains. Construction added 30,000 jobs, the most in 15 months. That likely reflects additional hiring needed to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy and also solid gains in home building that have contributed to a housing recovery.
Manufacturing gained 25,000, the most in nine months.
Even with the gains, hiring is far from accelerating. Employers added an average of 153,000 jobs a month last year, matching the monthly average in 2011.
A trio of reports released yesterday showed private hiring increased last month, while layoffs declined and applications for unemployment benefits stayed near a four-year low.
Payroll provider ADP's monthly employment survey showed businesses added 215,000 jobs last month, the most in 10 months and much higher than November's total of 148,000.
And outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said that the number of announced job cuts fell 43 percent in December from November, and overall planned layoffs in 2012 fell to the lowest level since 1997.
The decline in layoffs coincided with a drop last month in the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits. The four-week average was little changed at 360,000 last week.