“Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the American economy added 223,000 jobs in the month of December, and the unemployment rate fell to a historically low 3.5 percent while more people entered the workforce,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh following the release of the December 2022 Employment Situation Report.
The U.S. economy added those jobs even as some industries are experiencing a slowdown, reflecting the unusual forces at work in the post-pandemic labor market that is both resilient and cooling.
The unemployment rate inched down to 3.5 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hovering near longtime lows.
December marked the 24th straight month of robust, often sizzling job growth that shifted the balance of power in the labor market, giving workers more options to seek better jobs and higher wages. Bigger companies with deeper pockets often had the upper hand in this dynamic, but as the economy cools, the dynamic is changing.
The Fort Worth NewsGuild announced that after two years of bargaining and 24 days of an open-ended strike, journalists unanimously ratified a contract that raised minimum pay and locked in a variety of other benefits.
“What happened when Democrats governed last term? Another great jobs report for December. Historic job creation over two years,” said Rep. Ted Lieu. “What happened when Republicans gained control of the House this month? Chaos, confusion and crisis.”
“Today’s report is great news for our economy and more evidence that my economic plan is working,” said President Joe Biden. “The unemployment rate is the lowest in 50 years. We have just finished the two strongest years of job growth in history.”
The first two years of Biden’s presidency were the two strongest years of job growth on record and in December, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in the last 50 years.
Unemployment is near record lows for Black and Hispanic Americans, and the unemployment rate among people with disabilities has never been lower in our country’s history.
Average monthly job gains have come down from over 600,000 a month at the end of last year to closer to 200,000 a month, an appropriate moderation that is expected to continue in the months ahead.
We have more work to do, and we may face setbacks along the way, but it is clear that my economic strategy of growing the economy from the bottom up and middle out is working,” said Biden, who added that he is “just getting started.”
“This month we are capping the cost of insulin at $35 per month for seniors. We are lowering Americans’ energy and utility bills. And shovels are hitting the ground all around the country to rebuild our infrastructure, supply chains, and manufacturing here at home,” said Biden. “That’s how we build an America we all take pride in, where working families have good jobs and more breathing room, and the economy grows from the bottom up and middle out for the long haul.”
Mass layoffs by some large, high-profile employers, such as Amazon and Salesforce, are said to be softening the labor market in ways that appear to be benefiting small- and medium-size employers that have had trouble hiring but are now finding the employees they need.
ADP’s latest survey of private payrolls found that large employers cut 151,000 jobs in December, while companies with fewer than 500 workers added nearly 400,000 new jobs that month.