US employers went on a surprising hiring spree in December

US employers went on a surprising hiring spree in December

And those who lose their jobs, or decide to leave, won't have a hard time finding another position.

U.S. employment increased by 312,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While expectations were high at an estimated 184,000 new jobs, the actual total was a 70 percent increase from what most economists expected. Average hourly earnings meanwhile rose by 11 cents to $27.48. 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 United States central bank would be "patient" in deciding on any further increases in the benchmark lending rates.

Among the unemployed, the number of job leavers - unemployed people who immediately look for new work upon departure - increased by 142,000 in December to 839,000.

Overall unemployment increased by 0.2 points to 3.9 percent in December, with 419,000 Americans out of work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also amended previous reports to show that more jobs were added - a common move after last year's hurricanes scrambled the numbers, analysts said.

"Friday's payrolls numbers suggest a healthier USA economy than some investors had anticipated", it said.

However, the jobs report does point to a steadily growing economy, with the most new jobs created in health care, construction, and the restaurant industry.

Manufacturing experienced a major rebound, producing 249,000 jobs in 2018 through November.

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"Businesses continue to add aggressively to their payrolls despite the stock market slump and the trade war", Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, said in a press statement last Thursday.

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 average monthly increase in USA construction jobs in 2018 was +23,000, which was +12.0% higher than 2017's average monthly increase of +21,000. The unemployment rate, for example, hit an 18-year low in May and black Americans' unemployment hit the lowest level recorded by the government.

Wages grew 3.2 percent in the year since December 2017 after almost a decade of tepid growth, the Labor Department's latest numbers showed. As a result, these figures are the lowest since 1969, giving more and more people confidence they can find a job.

Paychecks grew as employers raised wages to attract new workers.

Manufacturing payrolls increased by 32,000 jobs in December, but could surprise on the downside after a measure of factory employment fell last month. Temporary help services, usually one of the earliest to shed jobs when there is a crisis, continued to add jobs (10,000).

And businesses are still searching for more workers. In addition, data from both November and October were revised upward by a combined 95,000 jobs, bringing up the average job growth for the fourth quarter to 254,000 jobs per month.

The economy needs to add 80,000 jobs a month just to maintain current staffing levels, said Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, an worldwide consulting firm.

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