The unemployment rate in the United State declined slightly to 4.9 percent in last December from 5 percent in the previous month, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
The U.S. jobless rate in the last month was the lowest since the middle of 2001.
The report showed that U.S. employers increased new payrolls by just 108,000. The gain followed a big pickup of 305,000 jobs added in November.
Job losses in construction, retail and transportation helped blunt job gains in manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health services, government and elsewhere.
For all of 2005, the U.S. economy added 2 million jobs -- a solid amount and about the same as last year. The U.S. unemployment rate averaged 5.1 percent last year, an improvement from the 5.5 percent average registered in 2004.