Job growth in the US remains solid while wage growth is still lacking.
The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labour Statistics showed that US employers added 252,000 jobs in December, better than expected.
The unemployment rate also plunged to 5.6%, and last month’s blowout jobs report was revised higher to 353,000 from 321,000.
This is the lowest unemployment rate since June 2008.
The most disappointing part of the report was average hourly earnings, which fell 0.2% month-on-month in December, reversing a 0.4% increase in November that was also revised lower in Friday’s report.
On a year-on-year basis, wages grew just 1.7% in December, the smallest gain since October 2012.
Still, the US economy extends its streak of payroll gains larger than 200,000 to 11 months, the longest since a 19-month streak that ran from 1993 to 1995. For the year, payroll growth averaged 246,000 per month, better than the average gains of 194,000 in 2013 and marking the best year for job gains since 1999.
The labour-force participation rate also slipped further, falling to 62.7% from a revised 62.9% in November.
Average hours worked in December held steady at 34.6. The “U-6” unemployment rate, which includes workers who are working part-time but would like to have full-time work, also fell in December, to 11.2% from 11.4%, another post-financial-crisis low.
Here’s a quick look at what Wall Street was expecting for the report:
- Nonfarm payrolls: +240,000
- Unemployment rate: 5.7%
- Average hourly earnings, month-on-month: +0.2%
- Average hourly earnings, year-on-year: +2.2%
- Average hours worked: 34.6
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