US Adds 145,000 Jobs; Jobless at 3.5 Percent

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America Created 145,000 Jobs in December Getty Images John Carney10 Jan 2020

Nonfarm payrolls rose 145,000 in December, the least since May, after a downwardly revised 256,000 advance the prior month, according to a Labor Department report Friday.

Annual wages rose 2.9% in December, the smallest improvement since July 2018.

The Canadian economy added 35,200 in December, compared to economists' expectations of 25,000 new jobs. This marks the largest employment loss in the sector since January 2016, when almost 17,000 jobs were eliminated. In 2019, trucking experienced job losses in six months, including five of the last six months. A cooler pace of hiring reflected employers' difficulty finding enough workers, global economic uncertainty and the fading effects of 2018's tax cuts.

The gain in jobs came as the number of private sector employees rose by 56,900, offset by a loss of 21,500 public sector jobs.

A further 40,000 jobs were created in the leisure and hospitality industry, which also includes restaurants and hotels.

Hiring in professional and business services and manufacturing also tumbled previous year. Graph 1 highlights that while total job "openings" in the US economy, expressed as both a level and a rate, remain quite elevated, they have been easing off a bit over the past couple of years.

Employment decreased 12,000 in manufacturing, 10,000 in transportation and warehousing and 8,000 in mining.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.1 percent), adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (12.6 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.9 percent), Asians (2.5 percent), and Hispanics (4.2 percent) showed little or no change in December. Unemployment in the region was recorded at 6% in November, with 2,500 unemployed.

Unemployment rates fell for nearly all categories, with the exception of men aged 55 and over, where it rose from 4.9 percent to five. The unemployment rate fell back to 3.5 percent, a near 50-year low. Wage gains over the past 15 month have averaged over 3% for the best earnings stretch since the end of the recession in June 2009. "It is important to remember that periods of stronger wage growth for production/nonsupervisory workers in this recovery tend to be followed by periods of relatively weaker growth".

"The truly disappointing wage growth trends of the past few months continued in December", Nick Bunker, Indeed Hiring Lab research director, said in an email Friday. The dates fall in the same week in January and February.

However, given the negative trend in job numbers and GDP growth towards the end of the a year ago, it's also too early to sound the all clear, he cautioned.

Jenny Vega is among the Americans seeing bigger paychecks.

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