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WORKSPAN
WORKSPAN DAILY |

U.S. Economy Adds 199,000 Jobs in December

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The United States economy added 199,000 jobs last month, lower than what economists expected, according to the Labor Department’s jobs report on Friday.

As was the case in previous months, despite the disappointing jobs figures, the unemployment rate continued to fall, now at 3.9% from 4.2% in November. Economists had expected a 4.1% unemployment rate in December and 450,000 jobs adds, after November’s jobs report was revised upward by 249,000 jobs.

“While the 199,000 gain in non-farm payrolls once again disappointed the consensus, a much larger gain in the household measure of employment and a tepid rise in participation pushed the unemployment rate back below 4%,” Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics, told Yahoo Finance. “Together with another exceptionally strong monthly increase in wages, that raises the odds the [Federal Reserve] brings forward plans to raise interest rates and run down its balance sheet this year.”

By industry, some of the services-related sectors hardest-hit initially by the pandemic saw muted hiring at the end of December. Leisure and hospitality jobs rose by 53,000 in the last month of the year, rising compared to November's gain of 41,000, but coming in well below the 211,000 seen in October. 

Transportation and warehousing jobs rose by about 19,000 during the month after a rise of more than 42,000 in November, while professional and business services positions rose by 43,000 after a gain of 72,000 during the prior month. Education and health services employment gains totaled 10,000, slowing from 14,000 in the prior period. Manufacturing added just 26,000 jobs last month.

ADP reported on Wednesday that private-sector employers added back 807,000 jobs in December, coming in at nearly double the consensus expectation and marking the biggest rise since May. However, pressure remains on employers to increase wages in the war for talent, as a record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in November. Wages accelerated by 0.6% in December and on a year-over-year basis, average hourly wages were up 4.7% in December.

About the Author

Brett Christie II.jpg  Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily


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