U.S. Unemployment Rate Remains Unchanged

NATIONAL REPORT—Employment rose by 145,000 in December and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5% or 5.8 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.9%, and the number of unemployed persons was 6.3 million. Notable job gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining lost jobs.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.1%), adult women (3.2%), teenagers (12.6%), Whites (3.2%), Blacks (5.9%), Asians (2.5%), and Hispanics (4.2%) showed little or no change in December.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.2 million, was unchanged in December and accounted for 20.5% of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 63.2% in December. The employment-population ratio was 61% percent for the fourth consecutive month but was up by 0.4 percentage point over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.1 million, changed little in December but was down by 507,000 over the year. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.

In December, 1.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 310,000 from a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job  sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 277,000 discouraged workers in December, down by 98,000 from a year earlier. The remaining 969,000 persons marginally attached to the labor force in December had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

AAHOA President/CEO Cecil Staton issued the following statement in response to new employment figures released by the Department of Labor:

“America’s hotel owners continue to create more jobs in communities across the nation and help more people enter the workforce. The leisure and hospitality sector sustained its upward trend in hiring by adding 40,000 jobs in December to end the year with 388,000 jobs created, an 8% increase over 2018. The industry achieved this growth despite a national decline in total jobs created for the year relative to 2018. Hotel owners are optimistic about 2020 and the prospects for continued economic expansion.”

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