2015 Ends with Strong Hiring

By Toni Vranjes

January 8, 2016

Employers were busy creating jobs in December, with especially strong gains in temporary work and other professional services, according to the latest government data.

The U.S. economy generated 292,000 jobs last month, exceeding the predictions of economists. For the third straight month, the jobless rate stayed at 5 percent, the Labor Department reported.

The professional and business services category provided a strong boost to the jobs data. Employment in this area rose by 73,000 last month — with nearly half of those temporary jobs. Notable gains also occurred in construction, health care, and food and drinking establishments.

Meanwhile, growth for October and November was revised upward. For those two months combined, there were 50,000 more jobs than previously reported.

In 2015, employers added a monthly average of 221,000 jobs, economist Jason Furman wrote on the White House blog. Although that’s a strong performance, it’s below the 260,000 average for 2014.

The slower pace of employment growth in 2015 can be attributed to several factors, according to Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. These include weaker foreign demand that hurt manufacturers, and reduced oil and gas investment.

“In addition, as the strong recovery brings our economy closer to full employment, job growth will likely moderate,” Furman wrote on the blog. “This effect may also have contributed to the lower pace of employment growth in 2015 compared with 2014.”

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