The economy grew by 2.2 million jobs in 2016

Bryce Covert

Bryce Covert Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

The economy grew by 2.2 million jobs in 2016

The economy added 156,000 jobs in the last month of 2016, while the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.7 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Analysts had expected 175,000 jobs to be added.

Meanwhile, revisions to October and November added another net 19,000 jobs compared to what was previously reported.

Overall, the economy added 2.2 million jobs in 2016.

The bigger news in December was wage growth, however. After falling 2 cents in November, wages climbed up by 10 cents in December, leading to a 2.9 percent year over year rate of growth. That’s the fastest rate of growth paychecks have seen during the recovery.

December’s job growth was driven by health care, which added 43,000 jobs, food service and drinking places with 30,000 jobs, and social assistance with 20,000 jobs. Food service grew by 246,600 jobs over the course of 2016, while health care added 421,700. The retail sector also added large gains, growing by 256,700 jobs over the year, as did professional and business services, which grew by 522,000.

Manufacturing added 17,000 jobs last month, a reversal of recent trends given that the sector has lost jobs each month since July. But over the year, it’s lost 45,000 jobs. Construction fell by 3,000 in December but fared a bit better over the year, adding 102,000 jobs. Mining fell by 78,700 in 2016.

Other trends over the course of 2016 showed promising signs for American workers. There were 237,000 fewer discouraged workers at the end of the year compared to the year before, or those who have given up looking for work because they think they won’t find it. The number of long-term unemployed people, or those unemployed for 27 weeks or more, fell by 263,000 over the year. The number of people working part-time jobs who would rather full-time work also fell by 459,000 over in 2016.

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Reposted from ThinkProgress.

Bryce Covert is the Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress. She was previously editor of the Roosevelt Institute’s Next New Deal blog and a senior communications officer. She is also a contributor for The Nation and was previously a contributor for ForbesWoman. Her writing has appeared on The New York Times, The New York Daily News, The Nation, The Atlantic, The American Prospect, and others. She is also a board member of WAM!NYC, the New York Chapter of Women, Action & the Media. Follow her on Twitter @brycecovert

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work