In December, the number of unemployed rose by 20.5 thousand to 730.6 thousand, as those looking for full-time work increased by 9.9 thousand to 501.8 thousand and those looking for only part-time work went up by 10.6 thousand to 228.8 thousand.
Employment went up by 34.7 thousand to 12.44 million, way above estimates of a 9 thousand increase. It was the 15th straight month of gains in employment, the longest such streak since 1993, with full-time employment rising by 15.1 thousand to 8.52 million and part-time employment advancing by 19.5 thousand to 3.92 million. The seasonally adjusted employment rate increased 0.1 percentage points to 62 percent, the highest level since March 2012.
The labour force participation rate went up 0.2 percentage points to 65.7 percent, beating expectations of 65.4 percent and hitting the highest level since January 2011.
Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 4.2 million hours (0.2 percent) to 1,738.4 million hours.