The Department of Labor reported Friday that December job growth far surpassed expectations, as employers added 312,000 new jobs last month to end the year on a strong positive note.
CNBC reported that while the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent, some 419,000 new workers entered the U.S. workforce, increasing the labor participation rate to 63.1 percent.
That level was 0.2 percent higher than November and 0.4 percent higher than a year ago, the network reported, adding:
A broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons held steady at 7.6 percent.
In addition to the big payrolls gain, wages jumped 3.2 percent from a year ago and 0.4 percent over the previous month. The year-over-year increase is tied with October for the best since April 2009. The average work week rose 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours.
Economists who were polled by Dow Jones only expected payrolls to grow by just 176,000, but they also projected the unemployment rate to fall to 3.6 percent.
In addition, December’s wage figure was far above expectations of 3 percent on the year and 0.3 percent from November.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting payroll growth of just 176,000, though they projected the unemployment rate to fall to 3.6 percent. The wage number also was well above expectations of 3 percent on the year and 0.3 percent from November.
“Payrolls growth totaled 2.6 million in 2018, the highest since 2015 and well above the 2.2 million in 2017,”Â CNBC reported.
The favorable jobs report also triggered additional positives for the economy overall.Â Fox Business reported that equity futures remained higher following good news from the Labor Department.
“Dow Jones futures were rising by 0.9 percent. The S&P 500 added 1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.2 percent,” the network reported.
Also, stocks rose on news Thursday that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators were set to meet Monday in Beijing. If those talks make progress, Chinese negotiators will travel to Washington, D.C., later this month.
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