US employers added a stellar 312000 jobs in December

Gladys Abbott
January 8, 2019

"That's a deal we'll take if more people are participating in the workforce". How's that work? It has something to do with the labor force participation rate. It averaged 82% in 2018, a third consecutive year of increase.

USA job creation rocketed higher last month, a jolt of unexpected good news for President Donald Trump as his economic agenda comes under increasing strain.

Economists had expected the pace of hiring would slow in December, as employers had trouble finding the workers they needed.

At this stage of the nine-year recovery, maintaining the streak that took off in 2014 is projected to become increasingly hard. Job market performance and its implication for consumption is critically important this year, given the plethora of headwinds for businesses.

The health care, food services, construction and manufacturing sectors were the primary contributors to last month's hiring.

The latest jobs report is (mostly) good news for workers. Over the course of the year, multiple new records for low unemployment rates within demographic groups were set. Crude prices have fallen for the past three months.

"We realized it was a mindset change: you have to be recruiting, rather than hiring", Riley said. "One is the stock market, which is going through something, and the other is the labor market, which has been chugging along". That was the biggest jump since February 2012.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that wages grew 0.4% in December, more than the 0.3% expected. But inflation ticked up in 2018, offsetting some of that bump.

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.

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The leisure and hospitality category added 55,000 jobs. The figure shattered expectations, as most experts projected just 181,000 new jobs.

Several sectors saw a pickup in hiring. "The large multinational firms derive roughly half of their revenues from the global sector".

Apple CEO Tim Cook said China's growth was hurt by "rising trade tensions with the United States". Chief executive Tim Cook blamed tariffs and China's slowing economy.

The manufacturing industry posted net job gains of 284,000 over 2018, capping its best calendar year since 1997. The enormous retail trade industry, in particular, has suffered.

Government jobs saw a gain of 11,000. The drop in hiring by parcel companies probably does not mean much in the grand scheme of things.

Despite the increase in the unemployment rate, the influx of people searching for work coupled with the job gains is an indication that the rate should decline in the coming months.

Regionally, the lowest jobless rates in the country now are in British Columbia (4.4%), Ontario (5.4%) and Quebec (5.5%). This is because there is a dwindling pool of unemployed people. "There's a lot to cheer for".

Employers added 312,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in December - almost double the 178,000 new positions economists had expected, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But economists cautioned that growth is expected to slow in 2019 because of trade fears and the duration of the almost decade-long recovery. The professional and business services (583,000) and education and health services (517,000) industries produced over half-a-million jobs each.

November's gain was 155,000 - a healthy gain, even though it was smaller than analysts predicted.

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