Thanks primarily to hiring by makers of wood products, computer and electronic goods makers and other durable goods producers, the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy added 18,000 jobs in December, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Jan. 6. It was the third consecutive monthly job increase in manufacturing. The sector added 8,000 jobs in November and 13,000 jobs in October.
The unemployment rate in manufacturing was 4.5% in December, nearly half a percentage point below the U.S. overall jobless rate of 4.9%.
Nonfarm payroll employment across the U.S. increased by 108,000 in December, about half what most economists were expecting and well below the number of jobs needed just to keep up with population growth. In addition to manufacturing, the mining, wholesale trade, information, financial, professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality services industries -- as well as state and local governments -- added jobs in December.
The department revised upward to 305,000 the number of jobs created in November 2005. Initially it had reported creation of 215,000 jobs.