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This industry led December’s solid jobs report

2016 proved a great year for continued job growth as jobs not only ticked up, but wages did also.

This industry led December’s solid jobs report

The end of the year is a busy time for everyone—especially for companies looking to up their headcounts heading into 2017. And according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly employment report, companies did just that at the end of last year.

The labor market added 156,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate edged up to 4.7% from 4.6% in November, according to the BLS report released Friday, Jan. 6. The report isn’t exactly knocking the socks we got over the holidays off of our feet, but is, by most measures, an OK final statement on jobs for 2016.

Health care and social assistance, in particular, had good job gains in December. In the health care sector specifically, employment rose by 43,000, with the largest job gains made in ambulatory health services (+30,000) and hospitals (+11,000). A powerhouse field for job seekers, health care was consistent throughout 2016, with an average of 35,000 jobs added per month last year.

These findings mesh well with the latest edition of the Monster 100—our monthly roundup of companies posting the most job listings on Monster—with UnitedHealth Group in the top five and Mercy and Christus Health sitting high on our list.

The social assistance sector added a solid 20,000 jobs in December, reflecting strong job growth in individual and family services (+21,000). (This sector experienced a downtick in subsectors vocational rehabilitation and child daycare services, which is why the net total for the overall sector is lower than the growth in individual and family services.)

Food services and drinking places also ended the year strong. This sector added more than 30,000 jobs last month. On the Monster 100, Giant Eagle, Chuck E. Cheese and Panda Express are all making hires right now.

Gains were also made in professional and business services (+15,000), which is fair for the month, but over the year, this industry dominated the jobs reports with 522,000 jobs added to the labor market. Employment in financial activities edged up by 13,000, as well.

Transportation and warehousing saw strong gains in employment, with more than 15,000 jobs added. Within this industry, employment expanded by 12,000 in couriers and messengers, which you can chalk up to the increase in online purchasing around the holidays, according to a Visa consumer survey.

Oh, and we saved the best part of the report for last: Employment went up in—wait for it—manufacturing. Yes, manufacturing. A solid 17,000 jobs were added in this sector last month, with a gain of 15,000 jobs in the durable goods component. This comes after four months of job losses in the manufacturing sector.

One more positive notable: Average hourly earnings hopped up 10 cents to an even $26, accounting for a 2.9% increase over the course of 2016.

November’s overall jobs number was revised up to 204,000 from 178,000 and job creation in October was revised down slightly to 135,000 from 142,000.

In all, 2016 was a good year for job growth as 2.2 million jobs were created.

January’s jobs reports comes out Friday, Feb. 3 at 8:30 a.m. In the meantime, you can see which companies are hiring now on the full Monster 100 list.

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