The Employment Situation – December 2019

Author : Ronald Matthews

Updated : January 14th, 2020

The Employment Situation December 2019

Nonfarm payroll for the month of December rose by 145,000. It is significantly less as compared to the previous month. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reported no change in the unemployment rate which currently stands at 3.5%. 

Major Ups and Down in December

Job gains took place in sectors like retail trade and health care. 2019 saw an increase in the payroll by 2.1 million. The retail trade sector added 41,000 jobs respectively in December. Retail verticals that saw an increase in jobs were clothing & accessory stores, building material, and garden supply stores.

The health care sector added 28,000 Jobs in December. The Ambulatory health care services sector added over 23,000 jobs alone. In total, the health care sector added 399,000 jobs in 2019.

The leisure and hospitality industry saw a continued upward trend in December adding 28,000 jobs respectively. The leisure and hospitality industry added 388,000 jobs in 2019. 

The Mining industry saw a decline of 8,000 jobs in December. 2019 saw a decline of 24,000 jobs in the mining industry.

Employment in the construction sector changed very little in December adding 20,000 jobs. Though 2019 did see an increase in the construction sector by adding 151,000 jobs. 

10,000 jobs were added in the professional and business services sector. The industry saw the addition of 397,000 jobs in 2019.

The manufacturing sector saw very little change in jobs as compared to the previous month. On the whole, the sector added 46,000 jobs in 2019. 

Establishment Survey Data 

December saw the average hourly earnings for all nonfarm private employees rise by 3 cents to $28.32. The last year saw the average hourly earnings increased by 2.9 %. The average workweek for all employees stood unchanged at 34.3 hours for the month of December. 

The average workweek and overtime for the manufacturing sector stood unchanged at 40.5 hours and 3.2 hours in December. 

December saw 1.2 million people who were marginally attached to the labor workforce. The number of discouraged workers was 277,000 in December. Among the workers employed part-time for economic reasons stood at 4.1 million which changed little in December. 

Household Survey Data 

Workers GroupUnemployment Rate
Adult Men3.1 percent
Adult Women 3.2 percent
Teenagers12.6 percent


Workers Group Unemployment Rate
White population 3.2
Black population 5.9
Asian population 2.5
Hispanics 4.2

The unemployment rate for adult men decreased by 0.1% as compared to the last year. The unemployment rate for adult women remains the same as the previous month. The teenager unemployment rate went up by .6%

The unemployment rate for the white population remains the same as the previous month. On the other hand, the black population unemployment rate went up by 0.4%. The Asian unemployment rate dropped by 0.1% The unemployment rate for Hispanics remains the same as compared to the previous month. 

Final Analysis 

The retail trade and healthcare saw positive job gains for the month of December. Its been a good month for job seekers on the whole. Also, the last year saw a lot of jobs being created in several new sectors and the unemployment rate dropping to 3.5%. 

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    1. Grace,

      UI benefits are offered to claimants who’re able and available for work. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office to determine if they can offer you benefits.

  1. Hi,

    I have a very unique situation.

    My husband worked for company x (located in NYC) from 2010 to 2016, he transferred to a new position with company x (same company – located in London) and worked there from 2016 to 2019, in 2019, he took a job with company y (in Florida).

    Company Y, let him go in Dec 2019, I am wondering if he can apply for UI in NYC as the UI in Florida is restricted to only 13 months and for $275 max per month

    Any information would help


  2. My husband retired from a job he had for 36 years (he is not old enough to collect SS) and now is driving a school bus in PA. Because there is no school (so no buses needed) from mid June until beginning of September, can he collect unemployment for that 2 1/2 months?

  3. I am in a unique situation. I would like to know if even though I work for a church that does not pay into unemployment, I have only been here a year and my job previous did pay into unemployment. Would I be eligible for unemployment benefits if I were laid off? This is in the state of Nevada. If so, how long do I have before that is NOT the case? In other words, I know that benefits usually go back 18 months. Would it be the same in this case?

    1. Leslee,

      As much as I am aware, church employees do not qualify to receive UI benefits. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  4. The unemployment office in Nevada doesn’t answer the phone. They have a recording that says they only take new claims on Monday, and Tuesday, from 8am to 4pm. But if you call at 8am, they tell you that the “Que is already full for the day.” How can that be possible if they don’t start accepting calls until 8am? No wonder unemployment in the United States is DOWN! They don’t accept phone calls after they tell you online that you “have to call to confirm your information” and then they don’t take the calls.

  5. I have called as soon as they open and they just say please call on the next business day I DID and you still didn’t answer

  6. Could you please provide a reference for the following statement in your article – please see below. Thanks.
    “You may also be qualified for unemployment benefits if:
    …You entered Commission-Approved Training and the job is not considered suitable under Section 20 relating to your availability for work, active search for work or refusal to accept suitable work”.

  7. If I exhausted all my benefits last year 2019 and my new benefit year starts back up in Jan. 2020 can I reapply? I still should have money in other quarters from my previous job.

    1. Yvette,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  8. Can i receive unemployment if my car broke down and i couldnt work cause i work outta my car and i couldnt afford to get it fixed so i ended up not working there anymore cause the car situation

    1. Willie,

      I can understand your situation. However, I am not sure if you can claim for voluntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

      1. Hello,

        I have been unemployed since this past July. My regular unemployment benefits are running out. Can I apply for Emergency Unemployment Benefits after this claim expires? What can I do?

        Thank you,D. ANDERSON

  9. I filed my first bi-weekly claim today but it only took my first week. Are there only certain weeks I can file 2 weeks worth of unemployment?

    1. How strict are they on the school program being less than 2 years for CTB training extension? I have an interview next week for a Training Extension. I started school this week, I am set to finish just a few months over the 2 year mark. Finishing in May 2022.

  10. What if it’s an employer that is threatening over it being personal home life and nothing to do with work or the work place??

    1. Kelly,

      You can be eligible to claim if you resign due to hostile working conditions. Please make sure to check with the Unemployment Office before making a decision.

        1. Paula,

          A copy should be available on the department’s website. You will be able to download after logging in.

  11. I finally start new job on Monday. My work hours are 6;30-6:30pm.
    How can I file my last two weeks if I’m working

    Can I. Call Tuesday? What number?

      1. Hello, I live in the state of Pennsylvania, for reference. I was told on 1/9/2020 I am being let go because of financial issues my employer and office is having. With that, my employer said I can work for the next two weeks to give me time to find another job and if circumstances change they will call me back to work. My question is, Where do I go to figure out my quarter dollar amount earnings for my highest 4 out of 5 quarters. I’ve been with this employer for 7 months, started June 2019. Before that I was unemployed for 5 months and before that I was employed for years up until Feb 2019.

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