US job growth quickens; unemployment near 3-year low

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For all of 2011, the private sector added 1.9 million jobs, while government employment fell 280,000.
US employment growth accelerated last month and the jobless rate dropped to a near three-year low of 8.5%, offering the strongest evidence yet the economic recovery was gaining steam.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 200,000 in December, the Labor Department said today. It was the biggest rise in three months and way above economists’ expectations for a 150,000 gain.
The unemployment rate dropped from a revised 8.7% in November to its lowest level since February 2009, a heartening sign for President Barack Obama whose re-election hopes could hinge on the state of the labour market.
All the job gains in December came from the private sector, where payrolls rose 212,000 – the most in three months. Government employment contracted 12,000.
For all of 2011, the private sector added 1.9 million jobs, while government employment fell 280,000.
A measure of the share of industries that showed job gains during the month rebounded after falling sharply in November.
There were job gains in construction, where unseasonably mild weather has boosted groundbreaking for new homes. Construction payrolls increased 17,000 after falling 12,000 in November.
Transportation and warehousing also got a boost from the mild temperatures, with employment jumping 50,200. The bulk of the rise came from the messenger industry, which added 42,000 jobs, probably reflecting an increase in deliveries of online purchases made during the holiday season.
Manufacturing jobs rose 23,000, the largest increase since July. Factory employment rose 225,000 last year.
Retail employment rose 27,900, slowing after hefty gains in November as retailers geared up for a busy holiday shopping season.
But temporary hiring – seen as a harbinger of future hiring – fell 7,500 in December after gaining 11,200.
buenosairesherald.com

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