U.S. economy adds 292,000 jobs in December

292,000 new jobs were added to the U.S. economy in December, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the added jobs came from construction, health care and business services, with the three accounting for half of the new jobs added last month.

The stronger than expected job growth seen last month brought total growth to 2.65 million jobs for 2015, making it the second best year for jobs growth since 1999.

Unemployment remained relatively unchanged at 5.0%, or roughly 7.9 million. December marks the third straight month of unemployment at 5%, a level most economists consider “full employment.” Unemployment is down by half from its peak of 10% in 2009.

US unemployment Nov '13 to Dec '15

The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls saw little change month-to-month, but is up 2.5% on the year, according to the BLS.

Oil and gas remains a soft spot in the economy

Despite stronger growth in the wider U.S. economy, oil and gas extraction jobs continue to decline, although at a slower rate than seen earlier in the year. In December, the oil and gas sector trimmed another 8,000 jobs, bringing the total for the year to 130,000.

US oil and gas employment Nov '13 to Dec '15

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