What’s Going On With the Job Market?

Eployers continued to boost payrolls in 2015, capping six straight years of job gains. It was the third year in a row in which employment gains topped 210,000 a month. In the 12 months ending in November, public and private payrolls increased 220,000 a month, or about 1.9 percent over the year. Virtually all the growth in payrolls was in the private sector, which added 212,000 jobs a month. The public sector added modestly to its payrolls last year, but the number of government employees remains more than one million (4.4 percent) below the peak level attained in 2010.

Nearly all major industries except mining contributed to job gains in the past 12 months, though gains in manufacturing were weaker than in any year since the expansion began in 2010.  Payrolls in the mining industry tumbled more than 10 percent, hurt by a steep fall in oil and gas prices and the decline in exploration for new energy reserves. The construction industry continued to add to payrolls last year at about the same pace as in the previous two years, although the level of employment is still about 1.2 million (15 percent) below the peak level achieved in 2006.