Unemployment Stuck at 7.8 Percent

Although the economy gained 155,000 jobs in December, the unemployment rate is sticking at 7.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report.

The rate has remained virtually unchanged since September.

The number of long-term unemployed was also essentially unchanged at 4.8 million and accounted for 39.1 percent of the unemployed.

Employment increased in health care, food services and drinking places, construction, and manufacturing.

Health care employment continued to expand in December (+45,000). Job gains occurred in ambulatory health care services (+23,000), in hospitals (+12,000), and in nursing and residential care facilities (+10,000). In 2012, health care employment rose by 338,000.

Construction added 30,000 jobs in December, led by employment increases in construction of buildings (+13,000) and in residential specialty trade contractors.

Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 38,000. In 2012, the industry added an average of 24,000 jobs a month, essentially the same as in 2011.

Manufacturing employment rose by 25,000, with small gains in a number of component industries. In 2012, factory employment increased by 180,000; most of the growth occurred during the first quarter.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, professional and businesses services, and government, showed little change over the month.

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