United States jobs growth jumps in December

Daniel Fowler
January 7, 2019

The Labor Department will remain funded during the shutdown, so the preparation of Friday's and future reports was not affected. That would be up from 155,000 jobs added in November yet shy of the 206,000 average pace in the first 11 months of the year. Both were seen as more red flags that the economic expansion, now in its ninth year and the second longest on record, is losing steam.

"This will be good news for otherwise depressed sentiment in the financial markets", said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at SS Economics in Los Angeles.

Filings for USA unemployment benefits rose to a four-week high at year's end, amid holidays that tend to make the figures more volatile and a partial government shutdown that may have spurred federal workers to request funds.

210,000 jobs, 3.6 percent unemployment, 3 percent annual wage growth "The pace of job creation in December was likely immune to the market sell-off and intensifying political uncertainty", economists Yelena Shulyatyeva, Tim Mahedy and Carl Riccadonna wrote.

There were also broad gains in hiring last month.

"We're living in a world where if China seriously slows down, that's going to have a big effect on literally more than a hundred different economies", Dollar said. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed roughly 450 points in morning trading, an increase of about 2 percent. The unemployment rate is forecast steady near a 49-year low of 3.7 percent.

Wages advanced 3.1 percent on a year-on-year basis in November.

The labor force participation rate rose by two-tenths of a percentage point.

165,000 jobs, 3.7 percent unemployment, 3 percent annual wage growth.

"Markets will probably be miserable no matter what the outcome", said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America in Baltimore. Powell said the US central bank was "always prepared to shift the stance of policy and to shift it significantly" if necessary.

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US financial markets are projecting no rate hikes in 2019.

On Thursday, a gauge of factory activity in the United States fell by the most in a decade.

U.S. stock index futures initially pared gains after the employment report on Friday before recovering to earlier levels, while U.S. Treasury yields rose. Last week included Christmas and preceded New Year's Day. Manufacturing payrolls are forecast to have increased by 20,000 jobs in December, but could surprise on the downside after a measure of factory employment fell last month. The Labor Department has not been affected by the partial shutdown of the US government and will continue to publish economic data complied by its statistics agency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The government is about to enter its third week of a partial shutdown, with negotiations stalled over President Donald Trump's insistence that Democrats agree on funding for a wall along the border with Mexico.

The strong job growth suggests employers believe USA consumer spending will stay robust.

"Strong job gains coupled with rising wages should act as a tailwind for consumption", said Michelle Meyer, chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in NY. Transportation equipment manufacturers said "customer demand continues to decrease due to concerns about the economy and tariffs". Job growth averaged 220,000 per month in 2018.

And businesses are still searching for more workers.

Paychecks grew as employers raised wages to attract new workers. The government shutdown, if it extends beyond next week, could weigh on January payrolls.

Employment at construction sites is expected to have rebounded after companies hired the fewest workers in eight months in November. Manufacturing payrolls rose by 32,000 jobs in December.

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