Jobless Rate Falls Slightly as Year Ends

By Toni Vranjes

January 6, 2012 3 Comments

As 2011 came to a close, broad-based employment growth helped push the unemployment rate down slightly.

The jobless rate fell to 8.5 percent in December, compared to 8.6 percent the previous month. Unemployment is now at the lowest level since February 2009.

The government’s monthly survey of employers showed 200,000 new jobs created in December. That’s up from 100,000 new positions in November, according to the government’s revised numbers.

One area of strong growth was the “transportation and warehousing” sector, which added 50,000 jobs in December. Much of the growth in this sector was driven by seasonal hiring.

Last month, employment growth also occurred in several other areas, including retail trade, health care, manufacturing and mining.

However, government employment declined, as the U.S. Postal Service and local governments shed jobs.

A separate survey of households — which the government uses to calculate the unemployment rate — showed employment gains of 176,000.

Meanwhile, 50,000 people left the labor force in December, according to the report from the Labor Department. The decline in the labor force also contributed to the lower unemployment rate.

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3 Comments to “Jobless Rate Falls Slightly as Year Ends”
  1. Joel A says:

    Are there stats or breakdowns on the demographics entering/leaving the job market?

  2. Toni Vranjes says:

    Hi Joel,

    You can find that information here:

  3. Joel A says:

    Thanks for the prompt reply!

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