Monday, 18 March, 2019


Stunning 312,00 jobs created in December, far above forecasts

Donald Trump appeared to reach out to Democrats to end the US government shutdown which is now in its second week Jobless Claims Climbed in Last Week of 2018 AFP3 Jan 2019
Conrad Doyle | 08 January, 2019, 03:40

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.

"It appears that higher wages are the reason why people are returning to the active labor force in large numbers", said Paul Ashworth, chief US Economist with Capital Economics.

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

The U.S. economy added more than 300,000 new jobs in the final month of 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its jobs report Friday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast private payrolls advancing 178,000 last month. The unemployment rate held at 3.7% in November, matching a almost half-century low, and economists expect it declined further to 3.6% in December. The number of unemployed increased by 276,000 to 6.3 million. Average hourly earnings grew 3.2 percent over the past 12 months - topping the 3.1 percent increase in November.

Wages advanced 3.1 percent on a year-on-year basis in November.

The unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent from near a 49-year low of 3.7 percent in November as a strong labor market pulled some 419,00 jobless Americans from the sidelines.

"Markets will probably be miserable no matter what the outcome", said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America in Baltimore. Powell said the US central bank was "always prepared to shift the stance of policy and to shift it significantly" if necessary.

President Donald Trump has defended the duties as necessary to protect American industries from what he says is unfair foreign competition. "An upside surprise could increase market expectations for rate hikes in 2019, while a downside surprise could lead markets to price a higher probability that exceptional USA growth is not immune from declining equity prices and slowing global growth".

Continuing claims, which are reported with a one-week lag, rose to the highest since late July.

The ripple effects from slower growth overseas could eventually hurt the US economy, David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told NPR's Scott Horsley.

"This should, at least for today, mute expectations that the Fed is off the table completely this year", said Omair Sharif, a senior economist at Societe Generale in NY.

The Labor Department has not been affected by the partial shutdown of the United States 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.

The economy ended the year by adding a much-stronger-than-expected 312,000 jobs in December - the biggest gain in 10 months, the Labor Department said Friday.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected 220,000 new claims last week.

Citigroup - 173,000 jobs, 3.7 percent unemployment, 3 percent annual wage growth. Economists estimate that it requires roughly 100,000 job gains each month to satisfy population growth and keep the unemployment rate at its current level.

With the labor market viewed as at or beyond full employment, job growth is expected to slow this year as workers become more scarce.

The big unknown is the partial federal government shutdown.

Health care and education added 82,000 jobs last month, the largest jump in almost nine years. The ISM manufacturing index fell 5.2 percentage points in December and an index measuring new orders tumbled 11 percentage points.

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