Many economists predicted the U.S. job market would end 2015 on a strong note, but few expected it to be this strong.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 292,000 jobs in December, well above projections. The overall unemployment rate remained at 5.0%, which is still the lowest it’s been since February 2008, nearly eight years ago.
Making matters even better, the revisions were also heartening: October’s job totals were revised up, from 298,000 to 307,000, while November’s totals were also revised up, from 211,000 to 252,000. Combined, that’s an additional 50,000 previously unreported jobs.
All things considered, this should be considered one of the best jobs reports of the year. Anyone rooting for the American economy should feel very good about this data.
Overall, the U.S. economy added 2.65 million jobs in 2015 – 2.55 million in the private sector alone – which in modern times represents a solid year for job growth. December was the 63rd consecutive month of positive job growth – the best stretch since 1939 – and the 70th consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record.
Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction – red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.