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.

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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Key takeaways:

  • 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.

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