Employers expanded payrolls by 223,000 jobs in December, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This figure is above analysts’ expectations of 200,000 jobs.

The latest jobs report also notes that employers added 28,000 fewer positions during October and November than previously reported.

Education and health services industry sees highest job growth in December

The BLS reports that employers in education and health services led the way in payroll expansion last month, adding 78,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the leisure and hospitality sector also saw a significant rise in employment in December, with employers adding 67,000 jobs.

The following industries also reported job gains last month:

  • Construction: 28,000 jobs added
  • Wholesale trade: 12,100 jobs added
  • Retail trade: 9,000 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 8,000 jobs added
  • Financial activities: 5,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 4,700 jobs added

Unemployment falls to 3.5%

The national unemployment rate in December was 3.5%, dropping from 3.7% in November.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers was 1.9% last month, edging down slightly from 2.0% in November. These professionals are the most sought-after workers by employers.

Separate data from the BLS shows that 10.5 million jobs in the United States were sitting open at the end of November.

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