The US mining industry increased employment by 3,700 jobs to 710,700 positions in December, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the oil and gas extraction sector increased employment by 300 jobs to 154,700 positions.
The mining industry excluding oil and gas exploration increased its employment by 900 to 192,100.
The BLS said that coal mining jobs rose by 600 to 53,900 and that nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying grew by 400 positions to 99,800. Metal ore mining, meanwhile, saw a decrease of 100 jobs to 38,400.
Support activities for mining saw an increase of 2,500 to 363,900.
"It is highly competitive to find and keep experienced employees," Gold Resource Corp (NYSEAMERICAN:GORO) CEO Jason Reid said in an e-mailed response to questions. "A large percentage of the industry is approaching retirement age, with fewer people entering the industry to replace them."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 600 points as total non-farm payroll employment increased by 312,000 in December, well above consensus estimates of 177,000 jobs created.
The unemployment rate, however, increased to 3.9%, up from 3.7% in November.
–This story has been updated to add mining sector data and executive comment–
Contact Dennis Fitzgerald at [email protected]