US job growth slows in December

Daniel Fowler
January 14, 2020

The prospect of a stable job market, a pick-up in global growth, supportive central banks, an easing of trade tensions and USA economic growth of around 2% should be a positive for this year.

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.5 per cent, remaining at a 50-year low, according to the report.

The initial estimate for payroll gains in November was revised downward 10,000 to 256,000. Near the end of Obama's first term, Trump tweeted (surprise!) that any jobs report with fewer than 300,000 new jobs added and "no real job growth" could mean that a recession is on the way.

For comparison, the local unemployment rate for December 2018 was 3.6 per cent.

Goods-producing industries lost a net 1,000 jobs in December, after adding 52,000 positions in November.

The increase in the number of jobs last month came as full-time employment added 38,400 jobs.

Kavcic said he doesn't expect to see a return to the job gains seen in the first half of past year after the weakness in the fourth quarter of 2019. A cooler pace of hiring reflected employers' difficulty finding enough workers, global economic uncertainty and the fading effects of 2018's tax cuts.

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Employment fell in manufacturing and transportation and warehousing. Unemployment in the region was recorded at 6% in November, with 2,500 unemployed. The so-called labor-force participation rate was 63.2%. Wages for permanent employees rose by 3.8%, Statistics Canada said, lower than the 4.4% gain seen in each of the previous two months.

The labor department said that hourly wages in December increased by 3 cents to an average of $ 28.32. "It is important to remember that periods of stronger wage growth for production/nonsupervisory workers in this recovery tend to be followed by periods of relatively weaker growth".

With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 14,000 lower than previously reported. The dates fall in the same week in January and February.

Meanwhile, construction (+9,200 jobs), health care and social assistance (+5,200 jobs) and accommodation and food services (+2,800 jobs) were the big winners last month. The manufacturing companies only created 46,000 jobs in 2019.

Yet job growth has failed so far to translate into substantially better hourly pay.

"It really stinks to be out there for 10 hours when it's raining", she said. "But once you get that paycheck, you don't cry too much". Peter Tchir, head of macro strategy for Academy Securities, called this "the one impressive number" in Friday's report.

Given the changing environment, some firms are moving cautiously.

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