U.S. Adds 312K Jobs in December

What a fine end to the year for U.S. economic and job growth!

Federal economists reported Friday revealed that the stateside economy added 312,000 jobs in December, smashing expectations for year-end growth, and wages rose 3.2% in the year since December 2017 after nearly a decade of tepid improvements.

The U.S. Labor Department also said the unemployment rate crept up to 3.9% — the highest level since July.

Some 400,000 more people began looking for work last month, signaling that higher pay could be motivating Americans who were previously on the bench to start seeking better opportunities.

It turns out that 2018 was the best year for job creation in three years. The economy added 2.6 million jobs, and the year closed with a slightly higher labour participation rate: 63.1% of Americans were working or looking for jobs in December, up from November’s 62.9%.

The December numbers follow a stretch of steady hiring across industries — particularly manufacturing, which had its biggest boost in about a decade. There were some exceptions, including retail and food services. And economists caution that the pace of hiring overall is expected to slow in 2019.