The U.S. economy added 148,000 new jobs in December, while the unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1%, the Labor Department said today. The tally missed economists expectations of a 190,000 increase in employment.
Job growth in 2017 was relatively strong, but still the slowest since 2011, suggesting we may be entering the later stages of the current economic expansion.
The unemployment rate—the lowest since 3.9% marked in December 2000—also indicates that some of the slowdown could be related to a difficulty finding qualified workers, or a need to raise wages to attract workers back into the labor market
Wage growth in 2017 remained muted at 2.5%, despite such tight labor markets.
The retail sector was the big loser last year, shedding 67,000 jobs overall.
The unemployment rate for African Americans dropped to 6.8%, the lowest since the Labor Department began measuring the stat in 1972.