The total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 199,000 in December as the unemployment rate decreased to 3.9%, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend upward as well as professional and business services, manufacturing, construction and in transportation and warehousing. In February 2020 there were 152.5 million jobs, in December 2021 there are still -3.6 million unrecovered jobs. Prior to the pandemic, the unemployment rate stood at 3.5% with 5.7 million unemployed persons while in December the rate remains 0.3 points higher, and unemployed people total 6.3 million. Considering that job gains in November were 249,000, December gains are considered slow even though compared to historical levels the recovery is significant. This is consistent with the omicron variant surge which ignited hospitalizations and has kept people home from work prompting more uncertainty.
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