2014 Best Year for Job Gains Since 1999 as US Adds 252,000 Jobs in December

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The United States economy last year experienced the strongest job growth since 1999 with nearly 3 million jobs created in 2014.

New government data shows that the economy added 252,000 jobs in December. That helped the unemployment rate dip to 5.6 percent, down from 6.6 percent in January 2014. The unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2008.

Strong economic growth buoyed the job market. The US economy grew at a rate of 4.6 percent in the second quarter of 2014 and 5 percent in the third quarter. The Bureau of Economic Analysis will release fourth quarter GDP figures on January 30.

However, unemployment varied based on demographics. According to the BLS, the unemployment rate stood at 5 percent for adult women and 5.3 percent for adult men. Whites had an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent versus 10.4 percent for blacks and 6.5 percent for Latinos.

Not all of the news was positive. Wages actually declined slightly in December. The BLS estimates that average wage earnings declined 5 cents in December after rising 6 cents in November. The number of long-term unemployed has also remained high at 2.8 million.

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