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U.S. temporary help payrolls rose by 46,500 jobs in December, a slightly smaller monthly gain than in November, according to seasonally adjusted preliminary numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Gains in temporary employment for November and October were revised upward by 3,000 and 200 respectively. November gained 55,200 temp jobs and October gained 44,300 temp jobs.
The gains continue a trend of improving temporary job numbers. It's a reversal from earlier in the recession -- the U.S. lost an average of 44,000 temp jobs per month between January 2008 and July 2009. Temporary help has added 166,000 jobs since July, when employment in the segment reached a low point.
The temporary help penetration rate -- the number of temps divided by total nonfarm employment -- rose to 1.46% in December from 1.42% in November.
As a whole, the employment services industry added 55,700 jobs in December.
However, total U.S. nonfarm payrolls fell by 85,000 to 130.9 million, a bigger decrease than economists had forecast. The Wall Street Journal reported that economists expected a decrease of only 10,000. Others had expected a gain in jobs; Wanted Technologies forecast earlier this week that the bureau would announce a gain of 75,000 jobs.
Goods-producing jobs fell by 81,000 in December while service-providing jobs fell by 4,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The U.S. unemployment rate was unchanged at 10.0%
Construction employment fell by 53,000 jobs in December. The category has lost 1.6 million jobs since the recession began.
Manufacturing jobs fell by 27,000 in December -- down from the average monthly decline of 41,000 jobs for the last six months of 2009.
Healthcare added 22,000 jobs in December with 9,000 jobs in offices of physicians and 8,000 in home healthcare services. Healthcare has added 631,000 jobs since the recession began.