US jobs miss but wages rise to a post-GFC high

American flag workers

Americans’ wages rose at the fastest pace since 2009 in December, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

The jobs report showed that average hourly earnings increased by 2.9% year-on-year. The economy added 156,000 jobs in December, fewer than expected, and extending the record streak of job creation in the US.

Economists had forecast that non-farm payrolls increased by 175,000 in December.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.7% from 4.6%. It fell to an eight-year low because the labour force shrank as fewer people chose to look for work.

In December, the labour force participation rate held was little changed at 62.7%, near the lowest level in several decades.

It was the final jobs report while Barack Obama is president, although technically, the survey week for the January report will be before inauguration day. Since President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, various surveys of consumer confidence have shown that Americans’ optimism about the labour market has improved.

The jump in wages could have been partly because the employment survey is conducted during the week of the 12th. That was a Monday in December, meaning that people who get paid bi-monthly and on the 15th of the month were accounted for.

More to come …

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