Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor reports. The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and efforts to contain the pandemic. In December, job losses in leisure and hospitality and in private education were partially offset by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.
In December, manufacturing employment increased by 38,000, with gains in motor vehicles and parts (+7,000), plastics and rubber products (+7,000), and nonmetallic mineral products (+6,000). By contrast, miscellaneous nondurable goods manufacturing lost 11,000 jobs over the month. Despite gains over the past 8 months, employment in manufacturing is 543,000 below its February level.