The unemployment rate declined from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent in December, the total non-farm payrolls came at 74.000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Consensus was for 7.0% and 200.000 respectively.  The nonfarm payrolls came as a big surprise considering the drop of the unemployment rate. Perhaps the effects of the government shutdown are starting to weight.

Unemployment Rate

Employment rose in retail trade and wholesale trade but was down in information.

Retail trade rose by 55,000 in December. Within the industry, job gains occurred in food and beverage stores (+12,000), clothing and accessories stores (+12,000), general merchandise stores (+8,000), and motor vehicle and parts dealers (+7,000). Retail trade added an average of 32,000 jobs per month in 2013.

Wholesale trade added 15,000 jobs. Most of the job growth occurred in electronic markets and agents and brokers (+9,000). Wholesale trade added an average of 8,000 jobs per month in 2013.

Professional and business services continued to trend up in December (+19,000). In 2013, job growth in professional and business services averaged 53,000 per month. Within the industry, temporary help services added 40,000 jobs in December, while employment in accounting and bookkeeping services declined by 25,000.

Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in December (+9,000). Employment rose in primary metals (+4,000) and petroleum and coal products (+2,000), while electronic instruments  (-4,000) lost jobs. Manufacturing added 77,000 jobs in 2013, compared with an increase of 154,000 jobs in 2012.

Mining edged up in December (+5,000). The industry added 29,000 jobs over the year.

Health care employment changed little in December (-6,000). Employment gains in the industry averaged 17,000 per month in 2013, compared with an average monthly gain of 27,000 in 2012.

Employment in information fell by 12,000 in December, driven by a decline in the motion picture and sound recording industry (-14,000). Employment in information was essentially unchanged over the year.

Construction edged down in December (-16,000). However, in 2013, the industry added an average of 10,000 jobs per month. Employment in nonresidential specialty trade contractors declined by 13,000 in December, possibly reflecting unusually cold weather in parts of the country.

All other  major industries, including transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little in December.

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