Economic Snapshot: Large employment gains mark the end of 2015

Private-sector employment increased by 257,000 jobs from November to December. This is the highest number of jobs added since December 2014, following a year of less-than-favorable employment gains for the ADP Employment Report.

“2015 had a strong close with December showing the largest job gains of the year,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute. “Overall, the average monthly employment growth was just under 200,000 for the year in contrast to almost 240,000 jobs per month in 2014. Weakness in the energy and manufacturing sectors was mostly responsible for the drop off.”

Large businesses added 97,000 jobs in December, up from the upwardly revised 80,000 in November. Small companies were not far behind, adding 95,000 jobs this month. This is up from November’s downwardly revised 72,000 jobs. Medium businesses added 65,000 jobs, an increase of about 10 percent from the previous month.

Service-providing employment added the largest share of jobs in December at 234,000, up from an upwardly revised 213,000 in November. Professional/business services contributed 66,000 jobs, the largest increase in this sector for 2015. Trade/transportation/utilities employment grew by 38,000 jobs, marginally lower than the upwardly revised 41,000 in November. Financial activities added 13,000 jobs.

Goods-producing employment rose by 23,000 jobs in December, a significant increase from the 2,000 jobs lost in November. The construction industry added 24,000 jobs and the manufacturing industry posted job gains for the second consecutive month, adding 2,000.

“Strong job growth shows no signs of abating. The only industry shedding jobs is energy,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody Analytics. “If this pace of job growth is sustained, which seems likely, the economy will be back to full employment by mid-year. This is a significant achievement, given that the last time the economy was at full employment was nearly a decade ago.”

ISM manufacturing index

The ISM Manufacturing Index decreased 0.4 percentage points to 48.2 in December. Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted for the second consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 79th consecutive month.

The New Orders Index increased 0.3 percentage points to 49.2 and the Production Index increased 0.6 percentage points to 49.8 percent.

The Employment Index dropped 3.2 percentage points to 48.1 in December. The Prices Index fell 2 percentage points to 33.5 percent, indicating lower raw materials prices for the 14th consecutive month.

The New Exports Index rose 3.5 percentage points to 51 percent and the Imports Index dropped 3.5 percentage points to 45.5 percent.

Ten out of 18 manufacturing industries reported contraction in December and six reported growth.

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