Hiring surged in December, employers added 312000 jobs

Gladys Abbott
January 7, 2019

"The ADP employment report has been susceptible to large swings in December that we think may be in part due to a year-end quirk that has tended to result in ADP printing high relative to payrolls in the final month of the year", said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in NY.

There are concerns that tightening financial market conditions because of the steep stock market selloff could hurt hiring.

Average hourly earnings are seen rising 0.3% in December after gaining 0.2% in November.

Depending on how long it lasts, the shutdown "could be a big negative" in next month's jobsreport, which will reflect January employment, Kevin Hassett, a top economic adviser to President Trump, said Thursday.

That's still lower than it was a year ago, when the jobless rate was 4.1 percent and there were 6.6 million unemployed workers.

The strong job gains suggest that the tumbling stock market has yet to depress expectations that the economy will expand for a 10th straight year. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed roughly 450 points in morning trading, an increase of about 2 percent.

Businesses hired a stunning 312,000 workers in December, capping off a year of robust economic growth, the Labor Department said Friday.

Economists were expecting about 190,000 jobs to be added. This franchiser is also launching an apprenticeship program to attract workers, in addition to providing higher pay and benefits.

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The labor force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, rose two-tenths of a percentage point to 63.1 percent, the highest level since September 2017. The central bank last month forecast two rate hikes this year and signaled its tightening cycle is nearing an end in the face of financial market volatility and slowing global growth.

"Markets will probably be miserable no matter what the outcome", said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America in Baltimore.

In recent weeks, financial markets have plunged amid concerns that the US could be in a recession by 2020. Factory activity in China and the United States have both weakened, with the Institute for Supply Management's USA manufacturing index on Thursday posting its steepest decline in a decade. In the latest signal that investors see little room for the Fed to lift rates any further, yields on 2-year U.S. Treasury notes on Thursday dropped below the Fed's policy rate for the first time in more than a decade.

Goldman Sachs - 195,000 jobs, 3.7 percent unemployment, 3 percent annual wage growth.

The increase in hiring largely occurred in health care, hospitality and leisure, construction, manufacturing, and retail.

The big unknown is the partial federal government shutdown. Employment at construction sites rebounded last month, with companies hiring 38,000 employees after adding no workers in November. 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.

It was a lot easier to find a job last month because there were more of them.

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