Where many found jobs: Construction and health care

Construction boosted strong hiring in December, with builders and contractors expanding to keep up with heavy demand for homes.

The sector accelerated hiring to 30,000 jobs during the month. For the full year, construction added 210,000 jobs, up from 155,000 in 2016.

Health care and manufacturing also posted strong gains of 31,000 and 25,000 jobs, respectively, in December. Driving the manufacturing gains were makers of durable goods, including machinery and fabricated metal products.

By contrast, retailers shed 20,300 jobs last month as general merchandise stores, including department stores, struggle with a migration of consumers away from physical stores toward online purchases.

Overall, employers added a modest 148,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent.