That is a one-tenth of a percentage point decline from a revised 9.8 percent in November, making this the largest two-month decrease in unemployment since 1977. The jobless rate was 10.4 percent in December a year ago, according to a press release.
There were 600 new construction jobs in December, the first time construction has gained jobs in December since 2003. Manufacturing grew by 400 jobs, the first December growth since 2005. Job gains also came in information services and trade and transportation.
Despite the increases in those job sectors, the overall number of jobs dropped 7,300, or two-tenths of a percentage point to 3,826,900 from 3,834,200 in November. About one-half of the loss was seasonal jobs that traditionally end after the Christmas holidays. The number of jobs in December remained 14,000 fewer than in December of last year.