312,000 NEW JOBS…

U.S. employers ended 2018 in a big way, adding 312,000 new jobs to the economy.

The Associated Press reports the new jobs report was an “encouraging display of strength for an economy.”

From the report:

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9 percent, but that reflected a surge in jobseekers— a positive for growth.

Average hourly pay improved 3.2 percent from a year ago, up from average wage growth of 2.7 percent at the end of 2017.

The jolt in hiring offers a dose of reassurance after a tumultuous few months as the outlook from the financial markets has turned decidedly bleaker. Job growth at this pace is a sign that the economy will continue to expand for a 10th straight year, even if overall growth slows somewhat because of the waning stimulus from President Donald Trump’s tax cuts.

According to the report, the bulk of the jobs came from the health care, food services, construction, and manufacturing sectors.

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“Health care and education services added 82,000 jobs in December, the biggest jump since February 2012. Restaurants and drinking placed posted a net gain of 40,700 jobs. Builders added 38,000 construction jobs, while manufacturers increased their payrolls by 32,000 workers,” the Associated Press reports.

Yahoo News reports the booming jobs report could result in the Federal Reserve to consider changing inflation rates:

A tight labor market, however, may not come without consequence. Many investors are concerned that a combination of a low unemployment rate and strong wage growth will spur policymakers to push for additional rate increases to stave off inflation. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said during a press conference after the Federal Open Market Committee’s December meeting that wage increases would be “a welcomed development” and “need not be inflationary.”

“From a jobs perspective, I can’t imagine a much better report. From the market’s perspective, this could be really tricky,” Peter Tchir, head of macro strategy at Academy Securities, said. “A series of weak data has had the market convinced we get Powell the dove – but if he wants to play hardball with the Powell Put he may feel justified to remain more hawkish than the market would like.”


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