According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 292,000 jobs in December 2015, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5 percent.
Gains seen in a variety of sectors
The professional and business services industry added 73,000 positions in December. Within this industry, temporary accounting services expanded by 34,000 jobs. The construction industry grew for the third month in a row, adding 45,000 new jobs. Specifically, many positions were added in specialty contracting and construction of building. Since the start of 2015, this industry has created a total of 263,000 jobs.
Healthcare employment expanded by 39,000 jobs during December, largely in ambulatory care services and hospitals. Over the past 12 months healthcare has been a dynamic industry, adding an average of 40,000 positions each month.
Food services and drinking places added 37,000 jobs, while the transportation and warehousing sector grew by 23,000.
Although the information industry declined by 13,000 workers in November, it was on the upswing as 2015 came to a close, adding 15,000 positions in December.
Employment in the manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, financial activities and government sectors remained largely unchanged.
Wage growth and international factors remain persistent issues
While December's report completed a year of relatively strong employment gains, wage growth is still a significant problem. Salaries remained virtually unchanged in December, and increased by just 2.5 percent throughout the year as a whole.
The New York Times noted that while 2015's employment situation was solid, the question remains of whether overall growth will remain strong enough to keep hiring steady, or whether it will be impacted by turmoil in China and other global economies. Analysts are concerned that these issues could further challenge American exporters and manufacturers. Despite the magnitude of these global conditions, Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust, told the news source that the U.S. economy should be fine.
"I think this really is illustrative of the fact that economic momentum in the United States is still awfully strong. In spite of the craziness we've seen from Asian markets this week, the fundamentals here at home are still solid," Tannenbaum explained to the source.