The U.S. economy added 153,000 private, non-farm jobs in December, according to the monthly employment report released this morning by payroll-management firm ADP and its partner Moody's Analytics. The seasonally adjusted result is 28 percent smaller than November's downwardly revised 215,000 jobs, and 49 percent less than the previous December, when 304,000 jobs were created.
“As we exit 2016, it’s interesting to note that the private sector generated an average of 174,000 jobs per month, down from 209,000 in 2015,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute. “And while job gains in December were slightly below our monthly average, the U.S. labor market has experienced unprecedented seven years of growth that has brought us to near full employment. As we enter 2017, the tightening labor market will likely slow the growth.”
Despite the fact that employment is growing at a significantly lower rate than seen last year, Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi noted in a conference call this morning that 150,000 is still a solid number, and that the labor market remains strong. Zandi attempted to buoy uncertainty about how new fiscal policies could impact job creation in the future, noting that fiscal monetary policy can play a significant role in labor market productivity, but job growth will only be constrained by labor supply.
Mid-sized businesses consisting of 50 to 499 employees saw the biggest gain in company growth in December, with 71,000 jobs added, followed closely by large companies with 500 employees or more, with 63,000 jobs added. Only 11 percent (18,000) of payroll additions in December occurred at businesses with fewer than 50 employees, a figure that has continued to drop in previous months. Within that figure, firms employing fewer than 20 individuals lost 3,000 jobs last month.
Continuing the volatile pattern seen the past five months, the construction sector lost 2,000 jobs in December, after gaining 2,000 a month prior. As seasonal slowdown has set in, job creation in the construction industry has lost steam, but should likely rebound in the coming months. The goods-producing sector as a whole took a hit in December, losing 16,000 jobs total, with 9,000 of those losses in manufacturing. The professional and business services sector—which includes architecture and engineering firms—continued to add jobs in December, creating 24,000 new payroll positions during the same period.
For more information, read the full employment report from ADP.