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. Hello, I have a question regarding DD-214s. I have been separated from the USAF as of Feb 7th 2020. I have been told multiple time frames on when I will be getting my DD-214. How can I apply for unemployment without one? Do I use my last LES, discharge orders, or W2 what is the workaround for this issue? If I could get some guidance that would be greatly apricated.

  2. So does separation from the last employer determine eligibility? Or do employers before the last also come into play? I quit a job but then started a new one, and continued to work full time for 6 months. I was then laid off because of lack of work (seasonal/landscaping) and filed for unemployment. I made more the minimum amount of money necessary with my most recent employer. However, I was told my previous employer was trying to fight my claim.

    1. Dan,

      Separation from the last employment matters. If the exit was not your fault, you can submit supporting paperwork in case of a dispute.

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