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December 2015 Labor Statistics Highlights

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The December jobs report caps a year of steady growth.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) December 2015 report showed employment increased by 292,000 jobs, an increase from November’s revised increase of 252,000. Adjustments to numbers for October and November showed an addition of 50,000 jobs, increasing the average monthly job gain to 284,000 jobs in the past three months alone. The unemployment rate held steady at 5% for 3 consecutive months, remaining as the lowest level since 2007.

Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs, construction employment increased by 45,000 jobs, and healthcare employment added 39,000 jobs in December.

Average hourly earnings dropped by 1 cent in December to $25.24, changing little compared to the prior month’s increase of 5 cents. In 2015, average hourly earnings rose by 2.5%.

Professional & Business Services

Employment in professional and business services added 73,000 jobs with temporary help services accounting for 34,000 of the gain. Jason Bruckman, Vice President of Workforce Recruitment in Las Vegas, commented on the job growth, “Temporary positions spiked dramatically in December due to the holiday season. As the unemployment rate holds steady and the competition for talent continues to intensify, companies continue to use contingent labor to fill critical positions.”


Construction showed strong job growth for the third consecutive month, adding 45,000 jobs in December with job gains occurring among specialty trade contractors and in construction of buildings. Construction employment added 263,000 jobs in 2015, lower than the gain of 338,000 jobs in the year prior. Dion Trieb, Vice President of the Construction Division commented on the effects of the job growth, “The increased demand has shed light on the shortage of qualified construction employees that are available. Construction employers of all sizes need a qualified partner to help find top talent to fill these open positions effectively and efficiently.”


Healthcare added 39,000 jobs in December, with the highest job gains occurring in ambulatory healthcare services and hospitals. Job growth in healthcare had an average monthly job gain of 40,000 in 2015, compared to 26,000 in 2014. Kristin Carpenter, Director of Operations in San Diego, commented on Eastridge’s Healthcare Division, “In the last month we have seen an increase in the Healthcare Division for long term temp to hire and direct hire positions. In the past during the holiday months, we have seen an increase in short term temporary positions for holiday and vacation coverage as companies may delay filling full-time positions until the first of the year. However, this year, there has been an increased demand for long-term roles at the end of the year. We suggest companies consider direct hire candidates in order to broaden the pool of available top talent as the healthcare industry continues to remain competition with decreasing numbers of available workers.”

Manufacturing & Distribution

Manufacturing changed little in December, though its nondurable goods component added 14,000 jobs. JC Carrion, Vice President of Workforce Recruitment in Orange County and Los Angeles, saw different results than the BLS Report, “Our Manufacturing & Distribution Division experienced the largest growth of the year in December. Many clients launched 2nd and 3rd shifts in order to meet the increased demand for their products. Other companies, in the process of introducing lean initiatives, have opted for on-shoring manufacturing work traditionally done by external suppliers. This had a direct positive impact in our demand for both skilled and unskilled temporary labor.”

Effects of the Unemployment Rate

The low unemployment rate has resulted in a shrinking talent pool of top caliber professionals, thus making it harder to fill job positions. Despite signs of strong job growth and the steady unemployment rate, wages are failing to rise accordingly.

Judy Enns, Executive VP of the Human Resources Division, commented on the effects of the low unemployment rate on the labor market, “Unemployment rate is down, but the test of economic strength and optimism for workers will be rising salaries and wages. Higher minimum wage rates in some states will put pressure on hourly pay rates and salaries to increase in job categories currently paying above minimum wage, which will benefit employees and increase worker-buying power.”

Start the New Year with Eastridge

Start off the new year with Eastridge Workforce Solutions and enhance your talent acquisition functions to effectively fill positions with quality candidates. Results from Eastridge’s recent Talent Acquisition Assessment have helped companies assess hiring challenges that exist in today’s labor market. See the results or contact us today to see how we can help you win today’s competition for talent.

December 2015 Employment Situation Recap


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