The transportation and warehousing sector added 8,800 jobs in December, the Labor Department said, as part of a total 113,000 private industry jobs created last month.
Across the whole U.S. economy, the nation's jobless rate fell to 9.4 percent, the lowest level in 19 months, from 9.8 percent in November although the increase in new jobs was less than analysts had projected.
The government revised both October and November job figures to show higher employment than first reported for those months, but analysts said the economy is still adding jobs too slowly and the big drop in the unemployment came partly as fewer people bothered to look for work.
However, transportation and related industries continued what has been a fairly steady trend for months now of adding jobs. Labor said the group accounted form 4,232,300 jobs in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from 4,223,500 in November and 4,208,200 in October.
Trucking firms added 2,600 jobs in the latest month, and courier services added 3,300. Other gains were milder, but included a 600-person increase for the rail sector that is dominated by the seven largest freight railroads, and 300 for warehousing. Water transportation edged slightly higher from November, but like other modes continues to gain almost steadily.
Compared with a year earlier, and adjusted for seasonal norms, all transport modes have thousands more workers than in December 2009. The total transportation, warehousing and related services group has added 60,500 workers in the past year, Labor said.
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