Friday, 22 March, 2019

US Economy Adds 312000 Jobs in December

Restaurant workers. File Restaurant workers. File
Russell Knight | 07 January, 2019, 18:40

Employers added 312,000 jobs, far ahead of predictions of 177,000. Both were seen as more red flags that the economic expansion, now in its ninth year and the second longest on record, is losing steam.

The blockbuster United States jobs numbers starkly contrasted with the mounting fears for the global economy of recent weeks - which have seen stock prices tumble and confidence wane among corporations who foresee slowing demand and weakening sales in 2019. Retail trade employment, usually marked by larger swings in employment around the holiday season, added 23,800 jobs for the month.

Job gains were spread across a variety of industries with construction and manufacturing each posting gains of more than 30,000 jobs.

Attributing the job growth to Trump's policies, the Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta said the American economy surpassed 150 million jobs for the first time ever. This is only the 13th month since 1970 that the unemployment rate has been below 4 percent, with 8 of these instances occurring under President Trump in 2018.

Wages advanced 3.1 percent on a year-on-year basis in November.

At the same time, the unemployment rate rose to 3.9% as more than 400,000 people joined the labor force.

The unemployment metric that includes discouraged workers and workers holding part-time jobs for economic reasons remained flat at 7.6%. While that may sound ominous to some, economists stated this was due simply to more people entering the work force to seek employment. "Overall, the markets may have decided the Fed's work is done, but the economic data say otherwise", he said. Powell said the US central bank was "always prepared to shift the stance of policy and to shift it significantly" if necessary.

Powell stressed at a panel in Atlanta on Friday that he would not resign if the president asked him to do so. The president's attacks on the Fed and Powell over the central bank's interest rate increases have also anxious investors.

Health care and education saw the greatest net change in job growth in December, adding to a year of mammoth job creation in the services sector.

The markets have been turbulent amid concerns that the USA economy will be hurt by weakness in other countries.

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US employers went on a hiring spree in December, adding a surprising 312,000 jobs and providing a dose of reassurance about the economy after a turbulent few months on Wall Street.

The average monthly increase in US construction jobs in 2018 was +23,000, which was +12.0% higher than 2017's average monthly increase of +21,000. The dollar .DXY surrendered earlier gains against a basket of currencies and U.S. Treasury yields rose.

The AP cited two economists, however, who predicted that the news won't be so positive for the new year. That sector added 280,000 jobs in 2018, topping the 2017 gain of 250,000.

Finally, along with the job market report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, news also came that the ADP Research Institute released its jobs report, and the figures from that were also encouraging.

Data releases from Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis have been suspended during the shutdown, which started on December 22 amid demands by President Donald Trump for $5 billion in border wall funding. "Expectations regarding job prospects and business conditions weakened, but still suggest that the economy will continue expanding at a solid pace in the short-term", said Lynn Franco, a senior director at the Conference Board.

"This is the 12th jobs report following the historic rewrite of our nation's tax code, and the trend remains the same: strong growth for America", the House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Kevin Brady said. It needs to create roughly 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population. "More importantly, this year of success for our workers needs to be built upon", he said. Anecdotal evidence has been growing of companies experiencing difficulties finding workers, and raising wages to retain and attract employees.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who is from the opposition Democratic Party said while the latest jobs report is a good thing, the advantages would slip away due to the ongoing partial government shutdown. Construction employment rose by a strong 38,000 in December despite consistent complaints of labor shortages in the sector, and manufacturing payrolls increased by a robust 32,000.

And businesses are still searching for more workers.

The economy needs to add 80,000 jobs a month just to maintain current staffing levels.

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