The economy added 252,000 jobs in December while the unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 240,000 jobs to be added. The biggest gains came in professional and business services (52,000), construction (48,000), food and drinking places (44,000), health care (34,000), and manufacturing (17,000).
While wages rose 1.7 percent over 2014, they were down by five cents in December despite the other positive trends. Working Americans have experienced a lost decade of stagnant or falling wage growth despite increasing their productivity.
October’s numbers were revised up by 18,000 while November’s numbers were revised up by 32,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell 1.1 percent over 2014 and job growth averaged 246,000 added per month, with a total of 2.95 million jobs added cumulatively over the year.