U.S. adds solid 145,000 jobs in December; unemployment steady at 3.5%

Key NFP Charts to Analyze Ahead of the Big Day

US jobs growth slows in December

The nonfarm payrolls report was revised by 10,000 fewer payrolls added (to 256,000) and private sector payrolls were revised down by 11,000 (to 243,000) in November. Hourly wages have increased by 2.9% over the past year, missing the expected target of 3.1%, and marking the first time since July 2018 that wage gains have fallen below 3% year-over-year. A broader measure of unemployment dropped to a record low last month, but wage gains ebbed.

Swonk highlighted the tepid wage growth, saying, "The key takeaway from 2019 is that tight labor markets continue to deliver on jobs, but not wages". The latest data suggest Americans are finding employment, but they aren't necessarily landing high-paying jobs. Conversely, Newfoundland and Labrador lost 5,000 jobs. The increase in the number of jobs came as the unemployment rate also fell to 5.6% compared with 5.9% in November when the country lost 71,200 jobs. 2019 saw the slowest pace of job additions since 2011, per Yahoo Finance, thanks to effects from the trade war and difficulty finding workers. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 164,000 jobs in December. The chain has five sites employing on average 30 people and plans to open five more schools this year and 17 in 2021.

But the job surge since August, during which the London-area economy added 19,100 new positions, wasn't enough to erase a lacklustre start to 2019 that saw six straight months of job losses.

Construction employment changed little in December (+20,000). The health-care and professional-services sectors grew in December, but at a slower pace. The bottom line is that construction employment in Canada has remained almost flat for several years.

Windsor has the third-highest unemployment rate in Canada, according to Statistics Canada. "Manufacturers, hurt by the USA trade war with China, have cut back on hiring", MarketWatch said, also noting that "Energy producers coping with lower prices have barely increased employment".

The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 63.2% in December.

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.

That still put wage gains well above consumer inflation for the period, leaving workers with more cash to spend. So why is wage growth just muddling along? The dates fall in the same week in January and February.

"The major fact that drives the trend is the labor shortage in America", she said.

The industry struggled past year due to trade tensions between the United States and China in combination with slower global economic growth.

"I think 2019 was a year of consolidation", Gregory Daco, chief USA economist at Oxford Economics, told The New York Times.

That helped pay for Christmas presents for her two daughters, Ms. Vega said. "There would be much more concern if you got three consecutive negative prints on the headline".

The Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment report on Friday could buttress the Federal Reserve's assessment that both the economy and monetary policy are in a "good place". The data also doesn't reflect heightened tension between the USA and Iran.

Synovos Inc. added about 200 employees in recent years to its staff that operates warehouses and supplies spare parts to factories and other large facilities, such as universities.

Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect.

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