Job growth in December clobbered expectations, according to a report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The U.S. economy gained 312,000 jobs in December, well above the 176,000 it was expected to add, NBC reported.
Not only were more people working, they were making more money. Wage growth rose four-tenths of a percent in December, leading to a 3.2 percent overall increase in wages for the year.
For the year, the economy added an average of 220,000 jobs per month, higher than the past two years.
GREAT JOBS NUMBERS JUST ANNOUNCED!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2019
“This is the strongest employment report of this economic cycle — hands down. While we’ve seen greater job gains in some months, the plus-300,000 number along with another increase in average hourly earnings clearly signals that the economic expansion ended 2018 on strong footing,” said Tim Mahedy of Bloomberg Economics, according to Bloomberg.
“Perhaps most surprising was the two-tenths rise in the unemployment rate due to an increase in participation. It’s one month of data, but talk of the Fed cutting rates in the near future should be off the table for now,” he said.
Unemployment rose to 3.9 percent, which the Labor Department said was caused by people who were not previously looking for work now seeking employment.
HUGE JOB NUMBERS-312,000 Jobs Added. 400,000 discouraged folks returned to the work force looking for jobs. Unemployment 3.9%. Hope the stock market & the Democrats notice good news. 50G healthcare jobs; 38G in construction; 32G manufacturing. @realDonaldTrump take a victory lap.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) January 4, 2019
“The December employment report continues to show just how impressive the labor market is as we kick off 2019,” said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group.
“After a disappointing November report, December’s strong performance quells any lingering feelings that a hiring plateau might have occurred from the impact of tariffs and recent market volatility.”
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) January 4, 2019
The report is likely to influence federal economic policy, one commentator said.
“The solid news on the job market is one argument to allow the Federal Reserve to stick to its forecast for two interest rate hikes in 2019 despite low inflation,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate. “We’ll need to see whether business and consumer confidence holds up, or not, in the coming months amid the headwinds including U.S./China trade and slowing global growth.”
The health care sector added the most jobs with 58,000 followed by leisure and hospitality, which added 55,000, USA Today reported.
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