The U.S. economy added a robust 312,000 jobs in December, capping the best year for job growth since 2015 and delivering a late-year shot of momentum to workers and businesses.
The Labor Department’s report Friday also showed that wages climbed 3.2 percent in 2018, the biggest annual gain in nearly a decade. The jobless rate rose to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent in November as more people began looking for work.
The report showed that employers added 2.6 million jobs in 2018, an increase from 2.2 million in 2017. The gains were widespread: Manufacturers, retailers, health care providers, construction companies and restaurants all added workers.
The strong job growth is likely to continue in 2019. The economy is being buoyed by solid consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, as well as by a $1.5 trillion tax cut and increased government spending.
The job market has benefited from a prolonged stretch of economic growth, which has lowered the unemployment rate to levels last seen in the late 1960s. The economy has expanded for 97 straight months, the longest streak on record.
But the expansion has left many workers behind, particularly those without college degrees. And the number of Americans working part time because they can’t find full-time work remains elevated.
Still, the job market has continued to tighten, giving workers more leverage to demand higher pay. And businesses are starting to respond: In the past year, employers have added a combined 1.1 million jobs in transportation and warehousing, retail and leisure and hospitality, all sectors that tend to pay relatively low wages.According to the latest economic news, the US economy is still struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate remains high, and many Americans are still facing financial difficulties. The stock market has also been volatile, and the housing market is still struggling. However, there are some signs of improvement, and the economy is expected to slowly recover over the next few months.According to the latest economic news, the US economy is slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate is down to 6.3%, and the stock market is slowly climbing back up. However, inflation is still a concern, as prices for goods and services continue to rise.According to the latest economic news, the US economy is doing well. The stock market is up, unemployment is down, and inflation is under control. The US economy is expected to continue to grow at a moderate pace in the coming year.According to the latest economic news, the US economy is slowly recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate is down to 6.3%, and the stock market is slowly climbing back up. However, inflation is starting to rise, and experts are predicting that the economy will slow down again in the second half of the year.The U.S. economy added a robust 228,000 jobs in November, capping a year of steady gains that have finally returned employment to pre-recession levels.
The job market has been one of the strongest pillars of the economy in the past year, helping to power growth despite a slowdown in other areas such as manufacturing and exports.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.1 percent from 4 percent in October, but only because more people were looking for work. The so-called participation rate, which measures the share of Americans working or looking for work, rose to 63 percent from 62.7 percent.
The gains were widespread, with manufacturing, construction, health care, and restaurants all adding jobs.
The solid job growth is likely to keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates next month. The Fed has increased rates three times this year and is widely expected to do so again in December.
The central bank has been gradually tightening credit to prevent the economy from overheating and to keep inflation in check.
The steady job growth has helped to boost wages, which have been lagging for years. Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent in November and are up 2.5 percent from a year ago.
That’s still below the roughly 3.5 percent annual gains that are typical when the economy is healthy and unemployment is low. But it’s an improvement from the sluggish wage growth of recent years.
The strong job market is also helping to lift household incomes, which are finally starting to recover from the deep losses suffered during the recession.
After years of stagnant growth, median household incomes rose 3.2 percent in 2016 to $59,039, according to the Census Bureau. That’s the biggest annual gain since the bureau began tracking incomes in 1967.
The gains are being driven by a combination of factors, including rising wages, more people working full time, and more people working in higher-paying jobs.
The improving job market is also helping to reduce poverty. The poverty rate fell to 12.7 percent last year, the lowest level since 2007.
The strong job market is also helping to boost consumer confidence, which has been elevated in recent months. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 129.5 in November, the highest level in nearly 17 years.
The index measures consumers’ views on the economy, employment, and inflation.
The strong job market is also helping to underpin the housing market, which has been struggling in recent months.
Sales of existing homes fell in October, but they’re still up 4.3 percent from a year ago. And home prices are continuing to rise, albeit at a slower pace than earlier this year.
The job market is also helping to support the economy’s overall growth.
Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, expanded at a solid 3.3 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter. That’s down from the 4.2 percent pace in the second quarter, but it’s still a healthy rate of growth.
The economy is on track to grow at a solid 2.5 percent pace for all of 2017, which would be the best performance in three years.
Looking ahead, the job market is expected to remain strong in the coming year.
The Conference Board, a business research group, is forecasting that the economy will add about 2.6 million jobs in 2018. That would be the most since 2015.
The strong job market is also expected to help boost consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.
The National Retail Federation is forecasting that holiday sales will increase 4.3 percent this year to $678.75 billion. That would be the biggest gain since 2014.
The job market is also expected to benefit from the recently enacted tax cuts.
The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group, is forecasting that the tax cuts will boost economic growth and create about 1 million jobs in the next two years.
The strong job market is also good news for the federal budget.
The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting that the budget deficit will fall to $563 billion this year, the lowest level since 2008.
The deficit is then expected to decline to $441 billion in 2019 and $390 billion in 2020. After that, it’s expected to start rising again, reaching $1.1 trillion by 2028.