March 24, 2019

USA gets reassurance; employers add a stellar 312000 jobs in December

07 January 2019, 06:00 | Hattie Nash

USA gets reassurance; employers add a stellar 312000 jobs in December

USA gets reassurance; employers add a stellar 312000 jobs in December

There were 6.3 million people looking for a job in December, down from 6.5 million a year ago. That's a tiny bump, and reflects more of the slow wage growth that has plagued the economy in recent years. Metal ore mining, meanwhile, saw a decrease of 100 jobs to 38,400.

Restaurants and bars added 41,000 to the close the year with a 235,000 gain, down from 261,000 in 2017.

"It appears that higher wages are the reason why people are returning to the active labor force in large numbers", Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist, Capital Economics, told CNN. The rally kicked into high gear and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended with a posting a 3.3 per cent gain, also helped by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell who said the U.S. central bank would be "patient" in deciding on any further increases in the benchmark lending rates.

A separate household survey released by BLS shows that although the unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points (p.p.) to 3.9 percent in December, it went up for the right reasons: more workers are coming off the sidelines and looking for work, signaling that the US economy continues to hum along.

United States job creation rocketed higher last month, a jolt of unexpected good news for President Donald Trump as his economic agenda comes under increasing strain.

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Unemployment dipped as low as 3.7 percent in 2018, the lowest mark since 1969.

Mr. Powell began his news conference last month with a disclaimer that could look prescient if the economy sputters this spring. The average number of hours people worked also edged up.

Health care and education, which combines everything from outpatient care and social assistance to teachers and professors, posted a net gain of 82,000 jobs.

FBN's Edward Lawrence breaks down the December jobs report. The inference is that the latest Xmas season was a more-than-usually-busy time for shopkeepers.

Given the fast-moving market developments and the weakening factory data, Friday's solid jobs report might not offer the kind of evidence Fed officials will want to see as proof that the US economy has weathered recent turbulence.

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Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey report for December speaks of total jobs north of the border creeping forward by only +9,000. For the month, wages ticked up 0.4%.

Payrolls growth totaled 2.6 million in 2018, the highest since 2015 and well above the 2.2 million in 2017.

For ease of comparison, all the series have been indexed with January 2010 as the base or starting point.

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Statistics Canada. As workers continue to come off the sidelines, there also remain opportunities for sustained employment growth as we enter the new year. But in construction, and to an even greater extent manufacturing, Canada has not been keeping up on the jobs-creation front. Despite the unemployment rate uptick, the unemployment rate remains near historic lows.

Regionally, the lowest jobless rates in the country now are in British Columbia (4.4%), Ontario (5.4%) and Quebec (5.5%). Wall Street forged higher following the jobs news, aided by an announcement that US-China trade talks were due to resume next week in Beijing.

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But it has been gradually reversing that stance over the past year, although the balance sheet still remains above $4 trillion. He also defended his independence, saying he would not resign if requested Donald Trump asked.

On the transportation side, December's results finish off an impressive year for the capacity-constrained trucking industry.

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