157,000 Added to December Payrolls

January 7, 2005 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Non-farm payrolls grew by 157,000 in the month of December, topping off a year in which 2.2 million new jobs were created.

This follows an upwardly revised number of 137,000 in the previous month, according to the Department of Labor (DoL). Revised numbers from the DoL showed 34,000 more jobs were created in October and November than was previously thought.

The unemployment rate in December was 5.4%, unchanged from November. This number, along with the overall payroll increases, was slightly below Dow Jones analysts’ predictions of 175,000, according to a Dow Jones report.

Analysts think that 125,000 jobs must be added each month to keep up with the number of people entering the workforce, according to Dow Jones. The US Chamber of Commerce is predicted an average monthly increase of 125,000-150,000 in the upcoming year.
The unemployment rate for all major groups stayed the same in December, with the numbers for adult men (4.9%), adult women (4.7%), teenagers (17.6%), whites (4.6%), blacks (10.8%), and Hispanics and Latinos (6.6%) all stayed the same as last month, according to the DoL announcement.

For the month, manufacturing jobs increased by 3,000, while the service industry soared by 144,000 jobs. This included a 20,000 decrease in retail jobs but increases of 41,000 in professional business services and 47,000 in health and educational services, according to the report. The construction industry added a modest 7,000 jobs in December.

Another indicator, the average hourly earnings, rose two cents in December to $15.86. In year-over-year terms, this was an increase of 2.7%. To go along with this trend, the average work week increased six minutes to 33.8 hours.