U.S. employers added more than 5.2 million jobs over the past two years — a solid average of roughly 220,000 a month.
After 5½ years of recovery, the economy has recovered all the 8.7 million jobs that vanished during the Great Recession — and created an additional 2 million. The unemployment rate hit 5.6 percent in December, its lowest level since June 2008.
Economists expect the momentum to continue in 2015. Goldman Sachs estimates that thanks to lower energy prices, extra spending by consumers will lead to 300,000 more jobs this year than if oil prices had remained at their levels of six months ago.
Here are the job gains or losses in each of the past 10 years, along with the average monthly changes: