December employment gains bring 2012 total to 1.84 million

A turbulent year has come to a close. Through the storm clouds of a tenacious presidential election and a polarizing fiscal cliff discussion, the light of an encouraging economic recovery has peeked through in the form of steady job creation. While the fiscal cliff discussion in particular threatened to grind hiring to a complete halt, the latest monthly jobs report indicated U.S. employers held firm and set the stage for another strong year in jobs creation during 2013. Recruiting agencies stand prepared in the new year to aid businesses in finding and hiring new employees to fuel an economic return to normalcy.

December adds 155,000
According to the latest jobs report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nonfarm payroll employment rose by 155,000 in December. The increase led the total number of jobs created in 2012 to reach 1.84 million, with a monthly average of 153,000 new positions, in line with many economic analysts’ predictions. The unemployment rate stood at 7.8 percent, hovering around the same level since September, the BLS said, though it’s an encouraging drop from 8.5 percent in December 2011.

The total number of new jobs in November was also revised to 161,000, which represents 15,000 more jobs than previously estimated. December's job gains were exclusively fueled by private sector hiring, which totaled 168,000, but was offset by a drop in government employment by 13,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment fuels gains
Many pointed to robust hiring in manufacturing as one of the most encouraging aspects of the December jobs report. Manufacturing employment increased by 25,000 positions during the month, the most it has created in nine months, which underscores the value manufacturing recruiters can add to a talent search.

Overall, the greatest gains within manufacturing were made in transportation, which gained 6,000 jobs, and durable goods, which saw 11,000 more jobs. Specifically, motor vehicle and parts employment rose by 4,800 and nonmetallic mineral products increased by 3,500.

Additionally, healthcare employment expanded by 45,000 jobs, food services by 38,000, construction by 30,000 and professional and business services by 19,000. However, while BLS data showed strong private sector hiring, it did not reach the levels estimated by a jobs report released by ADP, which indicated private sector employment in December had increased by 215,000.