Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Ends with 312,000 Jobs Created in December

Ends with 312,000 Jobs Created in December

Almost all industry sectors benefited from the robust jobs in December, with health care and education leading the way by adding 82,000 to their payrolls.

In 2018, employers added 2.6 million jobs, or an average of almost 217,000 a month, according to the Labor Department.

The upbeat employment report from the Labor Department on Friday stood in stark contrast with reports this week showing Chinese factory activity contracting for the first time in 19 months in December and weak manufacturing across much of Europe. The aggregate weekly payrolls index - a proxy for total personal incomes that combines average hourly earnings, average weekly hours, and employment - jumped by 0.9% supporting strong consumption growth at year-end.

Average hourly earnings rose 11 cents, or 0.4 percent, in December after gaining 0.2 percent in November. President Donald Trump tweeted soon after the Bureau of Labour Statistics in its monthly employment report for December said that non-farm payroll employment increased by 312,000 in the country and the unemployment rate was at 3.9 per cent. Economists estimate that it requires roughly 100,000 job gains each month to satisfy population growth and keep the unemployment rate at its current level.

Manufacturing combined with a surging oil and gas sector and steady growth in construction jobs to produce what looks to be the best year for blue-collar, goods-producing jobs since 2014. He added that the report "suggests the U.S. economy still has considerable forward momentum".

Job gains were widespread, with construction, manufacturing, health care and leisure and hospitality all posting gains of more than 30,000 jobs.

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"While an encouraging indicator of our resilient economy, the final jobs report of 2018 comes as the economy shows unsure signs of its direction", House Majority Leader Steny H Hoyer said, adding that the Trump administration's economic policies are "taking a toll on small businesses, farmers, and working families".

"Overall, the markets may have decided the Fed's work is done, but the economic data say otherwise", said Ashworth.

Job gains were reported across all industries, with the exception of the information sector, which shed employment for the second straight month.

The Fed raised rates four times in 2018. Over the course of the year, multiple new records for low unemployment rates within demographic groups were set.

The economy grew at a 3.4 percent pace in the third quarter. However, several transportation industries struggled during the month, with most registering job growth below 1,000 in December. Anecdotal evidence has been growing of companies experiencing difficulties finding workers, and raising wages to retain and attract employees. Retailers hired 23,800 more workers. In addition, data from both November and October were revised upward by a combined 95,000 jobs, bringing up the average job growth for the fourth quarter to 254,000 jobs per month. Temporary help services, usually one of the earliest to shed jobs when there is a crisis, continued to add jobs (10,000). Among health care sub-sectors, "home health care services" stood out with +13,000 jobs month-to-month.

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