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December Job Growth Exceeds Expectations

Unemployment held steady at 3.7 percent with employers adding 216,000 jobs in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to a report released today from the Labor Department, shared The New York Times. The 36th consecutive month of job gains exceeded economists’ expectations.

The findings suggest the economy is taking a ‘soft landing’ wherein it is avoiding significant job loss while maneuvering to a more sustainable level after the volatile period elicited by the pandemic in 2020, according to the report.

Hourly earnings for workers rose 0.4 percent in December compared to the previous month, and 4.1 percent from the previous year. This metric is a common measure of wage gains.

Leading the December job gains were the roughly 74,000 added jobs to education and health, 52,000 jobs added to government, 40,000 jobs added to leisure and hospitality, and 17,4000 jobs added to retail.

Despite the positive results, many in the industry believe the findings could suggest a bleak economic outlook going into 2024.

“If the labor market continues to remain this robust, we could see broader price pressures and corporate pricing power reassert themselves after easing in late 2023–potentially leading to a second surge in broader inflation,” said Aaron Terrazas, the chief economist at the career site Glassdoor. Full Story (Subscription Required)

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