Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Employment Situation for December 2019, here are some of the highlights:
Total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment increased by 145,000 in December 2019. For the entire year, 2.1 million workers were added to payrolls. The year before, 2018, 2.68 million workers were added to the workforce.
The manufacturing sector realized a loss of 12,000 jobs in December 2019. But for the entire year, 46,000 manufacturing jobs were added, the third consecutive year of increases. In 2018, manufacturers added 264,000 jobs. The last time manufacturing lost jobs for the year was in 2016 (-7,000).
For the Wholesale Trade, Durable Goods companies, 2,700 jobs were added in December 2019. For the entire year, this sector realized a gain of 42,000 jobs.
The overall US unemployment rate remained unchanged in December at 3.5 percent, down from 3.7 percent a year ago. The last time the unemployment was lower was May 1969 (3.4 percent), over 50 years ago!
For the manufacturing sector, the unemployment rate for December 2019 was 2.7 percent, lower than a year ago, 2.8 percent.
For the wholesale and retail trade industries, of which scrap recyclers are a part, the unemployment rate for December 2019 was reported as 3.6 percent, down from 3.7 percent a year earlier.
For all private industries, the weekly average wage rate increased $1.03 in December 2019 from the previous month to $971.38. From a year ago, the rate is up $21.59.
For the manufacturing sector, the weekly average wage rate increased $4.46 in December 2019 from the previous month to $1,140.08. From a year ago, the rate is up $22.28.
For the wholesale trade sector, the weekly average wage rate fell by $11.35 in December 2019 from the previous month to $1,230.41. From a year ago, the rate is $24.53.
Total private industry hours worked in December 2019 remained unchanged at 34.3 hours per week. However, this rate is down 0.2 hours from December 2018.
For the manufacturing sector, hours worked in December 2019 remained unchanged at 40.5 hours per week. Manufacturing hours worked are down 0.4 hours from a year earlier.
The wholesale trade sector saw hours worked fall 0.1 hours to 38.9 hours per week in December 2019. This is down 0.1 hours from a year earlier.
U.S International Trade Balance
Also last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services data for November 2019.
In November, the US exported a higher value of goods and services than the previous month and imported a lower value than the previous month. November exports were $208.6 billion, $1.4 billion more than October exports. November imports were $251.7 billion, $2.5 billion less than October imports. The November decrease in the goods and services trade deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $3.9 billion to $63.9 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of less than $0.1 billion to $20.8 billion.
Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit decreased $3.9 billion, or 0.7 percent, from the same period in 2018. Exports decreased less than $0.1 billion or less than 0.1 percent. Imports decreased $3.9 billion or 0.1 percent.