Labor Market Closes the Year with Solid Job Growth
Labor Market Closes the Year with Solid Job Growth of 145,000
Unemployment Remains at 50-Year Low
JOB GROWTH: Another 145,000 jobs were created in the final month of the year, bringing the total number of job gains to 2.1 million for 2019. Following moderate downward adjustments to the October and November numbers, average job gains over the past three months netted out at 184,000.
TOP INDUSTRIES: The strongest gains in December were made in the retail and healthcare sectors.
UNEMPLOYMENT: There was no change in the unemployment rate in December, which maintained its 50-year historic low of 3.5%.
WAGES: Wage growth in December was modest, with average hourly earnings hitting 2.9% for the year.
WORK WEEK: The workweek was again unchanged, with average hours steady at 34.3.
TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: The temporary help sector added 6,400 new jobs in December.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Even as job creation moderates, forward momentum continues. Hiring activity in December, albeit less robust than anticipated, capped both a year and a decade of continuous job growth. Although the strongest sectors tend to be service-oriented, with fewer job gains attributed to more industrial sectors, such as manufacturing and transportation, more people are working today than there were a year ago. Wages are on the rise but at a pace that has left many workers dissatisfied and more open to competitive offers from other employers.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, CNBC, USA Today, FOX Business, Staffing Industry Analysts, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC, Bloomberg