With 4.50 million jobs added, 2022 was the 2nd best year for job growth in US history behind only 2021 with 6.74 million.
The headline jobs number in the December employment report was above expectations, however employment for the previous two months was revised down by 28,000, combined. The participation rate increased, and the unemployment rate decreased to 3.5%. Another solid report.
Seasonal Retail Hiring
Typically, retail companies start hiring for the holiday season in October, and really increase hiring in November. Here is a graph that shows the historical net retail jobs added for October, November and December by year.
Retailers hired 98 thousand workers Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA) net in December.
Since the overall participation rate is impacted by both cyclical (recession) and demographic (aging population, younger people staying in school) reasons, here is the employment-population ratio for the key working age group: 25 to 54 years old.
The 25 to 54 participation rate increased in December to 82.4% from 82.3% in November, and the 25 to 54 employment population ratio increased to 80.1% from 79.7% the previous month.
Part Time for Economic Reasons
From the BLS report:
“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 3.9 million, changed little in December. 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.”The number of persons working part time for economic reasons increased in December to 3.878 million from 3.688 million in November. This is below pre-recession levels.
These workers are included in the alternate measure of labor underutilization (U-6) that decreased to 6.5% from 6.7% in the previous month. This is down from the record high in April 22.9% and is the lowest level on record (seasonally adjusted) (series started in 1994). This measure is below the level in February 2020 (pre-pandemic).
Unemployed over 26 Weeks
According to the BLS, there are 1.069 million workers who have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and still want a job, down from 1.215 million the previous month.
This is below pre-pandemic levels.
The headline monthly jobs number was above expectations; however, employment for the previous two months was revised down by 28,000, combined.