Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 199,000 in December of 2021 and the unemployment rate declined to 3.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. Employment continued to trend up in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing.

The unemployment rate declined by 0.3 of a percentage point to 3.9% in December, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 483,000 to 6.3 million. Over the year, these measures are down by 2.8 percentage points and 4.5 million, respectively.

In February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3.5% and the unemployed was at 5.7 million.

The unemployment rates for adult men (3.6%), adult women (3.6%), and Whites (3.2%) declined in December. The jobless rates for teenagers (10.9%), Blacks (7.1), Asians (3.8), and Hispanics (4.9) showed little or no change over the month.

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