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January 04, 2008
Payroll Growth Slows Significantly

Employers added 18,000 jobs to their payrolls in December, and the unemployment rate rose from 4.7 percent to 5 percent, according to a report by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Payroll employment had increased by 159,000 in October and 115,000 in November. In 2007, payroll employment rose by 1.3 million compared with a gain of 2.3 million in 2006.

In December 2007, job growth continued in professional and technical services, health care, and food services, while employment in construction and manufacturing continued to decline. The retail trade and information industries also lost jobs over the month.

Meanwhile, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers on private payrolls rose by 7 cents, or 0.4 percent, in December to $17.71, seasonally adjusted. This followed a 7-cent gain in November. Average weekly earnings also grew by 0.4 percent in December to $598.60. Over the year, average hourly earnings rose by 3.7 percent, and weekly earnings rose by 3.4 percent.

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