Hiring surged in December, employers added 312,000 jobs

US employers added 312,000 jobs in December, well above what economists expected and underlining that the Am...

Posted: Jan 4, 2019 3:56 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2019 3:56 PM

US employers added 312,000 jobs in December, well above what economists expected and underlining that the American economy remains strong despite recent market turbulence.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% as more people were looking for work. It had been at a 50-year low of 3.7% for two of the last three months.

Business, economy and trade

Economic indicators

Economy and economic indicators

Employment growth

Employment search

Employment trends

Hiring

Human resources and personnel management

Labor and employment

Labor sector performance

Unemployment rates

Government organizations - US

US Department of Labor

US federal departments and agencies

Employers added 2.6 million jobs in 2018, compared to 2.2 million in 2017. Revisions to the October and November estimates added an additional 58,000 jobs to the 2018 total.

Economists had expected the pace of hiring would slow in December, as employers had trouble finding the workers they needed. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Refinitiv was for 177,000 new jobs. Instead, employers added the highest number of jobs since February 2018, and the second-highest number of jobs added during any month of the Trump administration.

Paychecks grew as employers raised wages to attract new workers. Average hourly pay was up 3.2% compared to a year earlier. The average number of hours people worked also edged up.

"It appears that higher wages are the reason why people are returning to the active labor force in large numbers," said Paul Ashworth, chief US Economist with Capital Economics.

But the wage growth could worry investors who were hoping the Federal Reserve might pull back on its interest rate hikes. The strong wage gain makes a policy change unlikely.

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

Stocks headed higher following the report.

The unemployment rate rose because more than 400,000 people joined the labor force looking for jobs. The percentage of the working-age people in the work force matched a five-year high.

"Yes, the nation's unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, but for the best of reasons," said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com senior economic analyst. "That's a deal we'll take if more people are participating in the workforce."

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

The report did not include the impact of about 380,000 federal workers who were furloughed in December because of the government shutdown. That's because the data for Friday's report was collected before the shutdown started on December 22.

The Labor Department will remain funded during the shutdown, so the preparation of Friday's and future reports was not affected. But if the shutdown continues through next week, the number of workers on furlough could show up in the January survey. That could mean the January jobs report released next month would show a drop rather than a gain in employment.

West Lafayette
Broken Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 82°
Kokomo
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 82°
Rensselaer
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 79°
Fowler
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 79°
Williamsport
Overcast
80° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 81°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
82° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 83°
Frankfort
Overcast
82° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 83°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 78°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 78°
Logansport
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 73°
Rain Returns In Sunday's Forecast
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116549

Reported Deaths: 3577
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21322766
Lake10566323
Elkhart6623111
St. Joseph6488109
Allen6244203
Hamilton4893109
Vanderburgh365231
Hendricks2741123
Monroe259836
Tippecanoe248313
Johnson2328124
Clark222757
Porter215447
Delaware196062
Cass19509
Vigo183527
Madison167075
LaPorte144440
Floyd137063
Warrick133039
Howard131363
Kosciusko121817
Bartholomew117057
Marshall100724
Boone98146
Dubois97919
Hancock93043
Grant92534
Noble91532
Henry80326
Wayne76114
Jackson7589
Morgan72438
Shelby67429
Daviess67228
Dearborn66428
LaGrange63811
Clinton60214
Harrison58224
Putnam57912
Gibson5225
Knox5179
Lawrence51229
Montgomery51121
White48614
DeKalb48311
Decatur45839
Miami4363
Greene42635
Fayette42213
Jasper3962
Steuben3857
Scott37711
Sullivan33712
Posey3350
Jennings31412
Franklin30925
Clay3015
Ripley2988
Orange28824
Whitley2766
Carroll27513
Wabash2688
Adams2663
Washington2661
Starke2647
Wells2634
Jefferson2483
Spencer2463
Fulton2412
Huntington2363
Tipton22722
Perry21913
Randolph2167
Jay1850
Newton17311
Owen1691
Martin1660
Rush1554
Pike1511
Vermillion1300
Fountain1272
Blackford1193
Pulaski1131
Crawford1070
Brown1043
Parke1002
Benton870
Union790
Ohio787
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events