On Jan. 6, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the final jobs report of 2016. Although job growth didn't meet 2015's impressive numbers - 2.7 million jobs were added that year - the final tally for 2016 is nevertheless consequential. With employment on the rise, steadying labor participation and increasing wages, even the stock market is reacting favorably.
Here's how the December jobs report breaks down:
75 consecutive months of growth
December 2016 marked the 75th consecutive month of jobs growth in the U.S. According to the report, roughly 156,000 jobs were added to the economy, making the final total for 2016 2.2 million. As The Atlantic reported, this long-term growth is good for job seekers, but means that competition for talent will get tighter. Employers may need to find new ways to attract top talent to their companies. "We are very optimistic regarding the hiring trends that we've seen from our clients heading into the new year," comments Heather Box, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Legal Division in Dallas. "We fully expect this to continue well into the second and third quarter of the year. As the competition for talent becomes tighter and tighter, we enjoy our role not only as a valuable resource, but also as a true staffing Partner to our clients in their endeavors to locate top talent."
Job sectors with the most growth
As in November, health care was the sector with the most growth in December, adding about 43,000 jobs. To break that number down further, about 30,000 were in ambulatory services, while 11,000 were at hospitals. Health care averaged an additional 35,000 jobs per month throughout 2016.
Social assistance also saw significant growth in 2016, adding about 20,000 jobs. Typical positions in social assistance include child care workers, social workers, home care aides and community service managers.
The transportation and warehousing industry saw an additional 15,000 job uptick, most of which were courier or messenger positions.
Manufacturing added 17,000 jobs in December. However, since January, the industry has lost roughly 63,000 jobs.
Financial services and business services are looking up. The industries added 13,000 and 15,000 jobs, respectively.
These numbers are down from 2015, but still represent a growing economy. The December jobs report closes the book on a multi-year trend of economic growth.
Economist Ahu Yildirmaz told The Atlantic: "During the past 8 years, the labor market has steadily created jobs - adding 11 million jobs. Today, the labor market is tightening, and we are approaching near full-employment."
Unemployment, wages and the stock market
The unemployment rate ticked up slightly in December, but, at 4.7 percent, remains low. This time last year, the unemployment rate was 5 percent and the year before that it was 5.6 percent. According to the BLS, the unemployment rate has gone down since 2009.
On another positive note, the average hourly wage grew 2.9 percent to $26.00 for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls. Hourly earnings for private sector employees in nonsupervisory roles grew to $21.80 in December.
The Wall Street Journal reported that, in reaction to the December jobs report, the DOW grew 1 percent. This is more good news for job seekers heading into 2017 looking for a new job or career change.
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