professional services and business services grow, while manufacturing declines.

Friday’s job report showed employers capped last year with impressive job growth in December. Here are the highlights. 

Wall Street Journal contributor Harriet Torry boils the flood of statistics from the Labor Department down to five nuggets, which together reveal a mixed message about the U.S. economy. It exceeds expectations on some levels, but is slowing down visibly on others. Torry writes, for instance, on labor participation rates:

The unemployment rate has fallen the past few years in part because Americans are dropping out of the workforce. But that wasn’t the case in December. Labor-force participation ticked higher to 62.6% last month as more people joined the labor force and found jobs. Still, participation remains near levels last seen in the 1970s, in part because baby boomers are retiring but also because discouraged workers have given up on their job searches.

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