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

California Protects Precariat Workers

From the AFL-CIO

In a historic win for California’s workers, the California Legislature approved a bill Sept. 13 that makes the misclassification of employees as independent contractors more difficult.

Sponsored by the California Labor Federation, Assembly Bill 5 codifies and expands on a 2018 California Supreme Court decision.

The bill also will help curb the rampant exploitation of workers by unscrupulous employers and give California’s working people the basic rights and protections we all deserve. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the bill into law.

 “The time is up for unscrupulous employers who claim their workers are ‘independent’ in order to cut corners on costs,”  California Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez said about A.B. 5

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