U.S. gets reassurance; employers add a stellar 312000 jobs in December

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The December jobs gain pushed total US employment above 150 million jobs for the first time.

Employers added a whopping 312,000 net new positions for the month, smashing economists' expectations, and wages rose steadily, gaining 3.2 per cent for the year. This matches October, which posted the largest 12-month growth in nominal average hourly earnings since April 2009. Though those headaches persists, experts think the slight rise in December's unemployment rate could be due to the 11-cent increase in the average hourly wage, which may have flooded new applicants into the job market, according to The New York Times.

The strong employment report likely keeps the Federal Reserve on course to continue raising interest rate this year, deepening its rift with Wall Street and Trump, who has chastised the Fed and its chairman, Jerome Powell, repeatedly for the rate increases.

The unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent from a near 49-year low of 3.7 percent in November as a strong labor market lured some jobless Americans from the sidelines. This marks the eighth consecutive month with positive job growth and puts trucking employment 2.5% higher than at this point previous year.

But the expected continuation of steady job growth suggests that such risks might be - for the moment, anyway - overblown. He added that the report "suggests the USA economy still has considerable forward momentum".

Other industrial sectors with large jobs pickups in December were: "education and health services", +82,000; "leisure and hospitality", +55,000; "professional and business services", +43,000; and "retail trade" (+24,000). He acknowledged that the jobs report was "encouraging", but said "the economy shows unsure signs of its direction". For the year, the trucking industry added 36,600 jobs in 2018, up from 9,400 added in 2017 and is the best year for hiring within trucking since the 50,400 jobs added in 2014.

"Businesses continue to add aggressively to their payrolls despite the stock market slump and the trade war", Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, said in a press statement last Thursday.

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The Fed raised rates four times in 2018.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who is from the opposition Democratic Party said while the latest jobs report is a good thing, the advantages would slip away due to the ongoing partial government shutdown.

Last month, stakeholders also predicted that job growth had reached its peak with November's addition of 155,000 jobs (revised now to 176,000) marking the start of growth slow.

Past year started with an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent.

The economy grew at a 3.4 percent pace in the third quarter. This pattern of growth echoes what ADP reported in November - though 92,000 more jobs were created in December in total. Anecdotal evidence has been growing of companies experiencing difficulties finding workers, and raising wages to retain and attract employees. Growth in federal, state and local government jobs, which had been picking up pace, tapered off.

Builders added 38,000 construction jobs, while manufacturers increased their payrolls by 32,000 workers.

Businesses are still searching for more workers. Among health care sub-sectors, "home health care services" stood out with +13,000 jobs month-to-month.

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