312,000 jobs added in December; unemployment inches higher

312,000 jobs added in December; unemployment inches higher

312,000 jobs added in December; unemployment inches higher

A third report from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 231,000 for the week ended december 29.

New factory jobs in December meant manufacturing ended 2018 with the most jobs added in one year.

"A substantial surprise in the jobs number, either higher or lower, would likely elicit a significant market reaction", economist Veronica Clark said in a note.

The December DOL report closes out what has been a strong year for the US economy.

A strong employment report could offer some relief to global markets, which have reeled in recent months from a flood of concerns including slowing economic growth.

Depending on how long it lasts, the shutdown "could be a big negative" in next month's jobsreport, which will reflect January employment, Kevin Hassett, a top economic adviser to President Trump, said Thursday.

The U.S. economy added 312,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in the month of December. The ADP report, which is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics, was published ahead of the government's more comprehensive employment report for December scheduled for release on Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 747 points, or 3.3 percent.

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The labor force participation rate rose by two-tenths of a percentage point.

Despite the increase in the unemployment rate, the influx of people searching for work coupled with the job gains is an indication that the rate should decline in the coming months.

The strong employment report likely keeps the Federal Reserve on course to continue raising interest rate this year, deepening its rift with Wall Street and President Donald Trump, who has chastised the Fed and its chairman, Jerome Powell, repeatedly for the rate increases.

The report comes at a tumultuous time in financial markets. Some of the moderation in employment gains has been attributed to the stock market rout. The U.S. dollar turned positive against a basket of currencies.

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

Thursday's report showed the number of claims workers made for longer than a week increased by 32,000 to 1,740,000 in the week ended December 22. The Labor Department has not been affected by the partial shutdown of the USA government and will continue to publish economic data complied by its statistics agency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Data releases from Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis have been suspended during the shutdown, which started on December 22 amid demands by Trump for $5 billion in funding for a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border.

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Growth forecasts for the fourth quarter are around a 2.6% annualized rate, with risks tilted to the downside amid fading stimulus from the Trump administration's US$1.5 trillion tax cut package, a trade war with China and policy uncertainty in Washington.

Goldman Sachs - 195,000 jobs, 3.7 percent unemployment, 3 percent annual wage growth. Job growth averaged 220,000 per month in 2018.

The S&P 500 suffered its worst December since the Great Depression and tumbled on Thursday after Apple Inc slashed its holiday-quarter revenue forecast saying sales in China slowed more than expected. Anecdotal evidence has been growing of companies experiencing difficulties finding workers, and raising wages to retain and attract employees.

The sharp stock market sell-off has raised concerns about the economy's health.

The big unknown is the partial federal government shutdown.

Several sectors saw a pickup in hiring. Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector increased by 55,000 jobs. Employment at construction sites rebounded last month, with companies hiring 38,000 employees after adding no workers in November.

Jobs in health care increased by 50,000 last month, with most of the employment centered around ambulatory care and hospitals.

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It was a lot easier to find a job last month because there were more of them.

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