The highly anticipated jobs numbers came in strong on Friday. US employers added 312,000 jobs in December. This figure blew expectations out of the water. In addition to this, the unemployment rate rose to 3.9% with more people looking for work. It was at a 50 year low for to of the last 3 months at 3.7%.
Jobs Numbers For The Year
As far as jobs numbers for the year go, employers added 2.6 million jobs in 2018. This was up by roughly 400,000 jobs compares to the 2.2 million jobs added in 2017. The forecast by economists was paced for slower hiring.
The median forecast of surveyed economists by Refinitiv was 177,000 new jobs but employers added the largest number of jobs since February of last year. This was also the second highest number of jobs added during any month of President Trump’s term.
Paychecks Are Growing
Employers also raised wages. This, in turn, attracted new workers. The average hourly pay was up 3.2% compared to the previous year. This may appear good for the time being but could also become a source of worry for investors. The hope originally was that the Federal Reserve might pull back on interest rate hikes but this strength doesn’t bode well for an agreement against raising interest rates.
Further, the low unemployment rate could also make it harder for employers to find qualified workers. On top of this, the impact of the tax cuts and spending increases passed by Congress could begin to fade, according to economists.
Jobs Numbers Breakdown
The job gains were broad with a number of sectors posting gains. Here’s how some of the figures broke down:
Health care job gains: 58,000
Leisure and hospitality, which includes restaurants and bars: 55,000
Professional and business services: 43,000