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U.S. economy adds 145,000 jobs in final report of 2019

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 145,000 jobs in December, the government said on Friday, below economists’ expectations of 160,000. The unemployment rate held at 3.5% — a 50-year low — while wages grew 2.9% from a year earlier, the smallest gain since July 2018.

Why it matters: The U.S. job market held up in the final month of 2019, but heads into the election year with a slowing pace of job creation and wage growth.

Details: Job gains were revised lower by a combined 14,000 in October and November.

  • The manufacturing sector, which President Trump vowed to revive, shed 12,000 jobs last month. In total, the industry gained 46,000 jobs in 2019 — far fewer than the 264,000 in 2018.

The big picture: The U.S. economy has added jobs for 10 years, the longest stretch of hiring "in 80 years of data," according to the Wall Street Journal. 2019 saw the slowest pace of job additions since 2011, per Yahoo Finance, thanks to effects from the trade war and difficulty finding workers.

What to watch: This report likely won't change anything for the Federal Reserve, which has signaled its intention to keep interest rates steady for the foreseeable future.

  • The job market will gain more attention as the election nears and the health of the economy under Trump is debated among candidates.

Go deeper: The end of Trump's manufacturing renaissance