The Obama administration ended the year on a relatively good note in the jobs department with the addition of 212,000 new private sector jobs added in December. This brought the official unemployment rate down to 8.5 percent, the lowest figure seen since February 2009.
Nearly half of the 13.1 million Americans that are considered unemployed by the Department of Labor have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. The 5.6 million individuals (42.5 percent of the total unemployed workforce) are considered to be long-term unemployed. Unfortunately, this figure has remained relatively unchanged for some time now.
As more new jobs are created in each month over month period, the Department of Labor should begin to see this figure drop.
Jobs were created in the following sectors in December:
Transportation and warehousing +50,000 jobs
Retail trade +28,000 jobs
Food services +24,000 jobs
Health care +23,000 jobs
Manufacturing +23,000 jobs
Mining +7,000 jobs
Overall, the private sector added 1.9 million new jobs in 2011. Unfortunately it was a rough year for government agencies and so the total nonfarm payroll employment increase was only 1.6 million new jobs. Although this was not enough to make a big dent in the unemployment rate, it was nearly double the 940,000 jobs that were created in 2010. May 2012 see this number double yet again.