The unemployment rate remained steady at 7.8% for December, according to a Department of Labor report [opens in PDF] released today. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 155,000, enough to offset net new entrants into the labor market without raising the overall unemployment rate.
Although December's rate failed to improve off November's revised 7.8% rate, it's 0.7 percentage points below December 2011's 8.5% unemployment. Unemployment fell from 8.1% in August 2012 to 7.8% in September and ticked to 7.9% in October.
Among sectors with the largest employment gains were health care (+45,000), food services and drinking places (+38,000), construction (+30,000), and manufacturing (25,000).
Unemployment rates by age, sex, and ethnicity remain relatively unchanged from a year ago. The department reported the unemployment rates for adult women at 7.3% and adult men at 7.2%, while teenagers notched 23.5%. The report showed unemployment rates among the races as blacks (14%), whites (6.9%), Hispanics (9.6%), and Asians (6.6%).
This month's report, the last for 2012, also marks the Department's annual revision of previous unemployment rates to account for more accurate seasonal adjustment. Most notably, this means that November's previous 7.7% rate is now recorded as 7.8%.