December Job Market Updates: Shaker’s Take


The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls grew by 145,000 jobs in December 2019. Revisions to the October and November reports decreased job growth for those two months by 14,000 from the data previously reported. For all of 2019, payrolls were up by 2.11 million, the tenth year in a row of steady growth. The average monthly gains for the last three months of the year were 184,000. For the entire year, the average was an increase of 176,000 per month.

For December, a majority of job growth came from retail (41,000) during a shortened and late holiday season, leisure and hospitality (40,000) and health care (28,000). Also up were construction (20,000), professional and business services (10,000) and education (8,000).

Looking at two specific sectors within retail, clothing and accessories stores were up by 33,000, building material and garden supply stores were up by 7,000. Employment in retail trade changed little, on net, for both 2019 (+9,000) and 2018 (+14,000).

For leisure and hospitality, there was a total increase of 388,000 jobs in 2019, slightly more than the increase of 359,000 in 2018.

For health care in December, ambulatory health care services contributed 23,000 jobs to the monthly growth in the sector while hospitals added 9,000 jobs during the month. Overall, health care added 399,000 jobs in 2019, compared with an increase of 350,000 in 2018. Construction with the increase of 20,000 jobs in December had an increase of 151,000 for the entire year, after a gain of 307,000 in 2018.

Professional and business service jobs were up by 10,000 in December with a total increase of 97,000 jobs in 2019. The sector had an increase of 561,000 jobs in 2018.

Jobs in transportation and warehousing were down by 10,000 in December. In 2019, the sector had a gain of 57,000 jobs, after an increase in 2018 of 216,000 jobs.

Mining jobs declined by 8,000 in December. For all of 2019 mining was down by 24,000, after an increase of 63,000 in 2018.

Manufacturing jobs decreased by 12,000 in December. For the entire year manufacturing was up by 46,000 jobs. In 2018 the sector was up by 264,000 jobs.

Due to skill set shortages and changing demographics, many companies are struggling to find qualified workers. According to the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s most recent strategy-planning session, “Business contacts in many [parts of the country] indicated continued strong labor demand, with firms reporting difficulties in finding qualified workers.”

Check out the infographic for more information on the December job market changes.

To maintain visibility among all possible candidates, clients at Shaker Recruitment Marketing are implementing comprehensive marketing strategies to increase recognition of their employer brand and develop consistent dialogue with growing talent pools.

Through direct response/programmatic advertising campaigns, employer branding, social media, community outreach and strategic sourcing of candidates, our clients are building and maintaining highly demonstrative employer value propositions and engaging with a growing community of prospective job candidates to secure a competitive position in today’s employment marketplace. For case studies and advice on managing recruitment marketing campaigns, contact us at

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Mike Temkin

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