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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The economy added 312,000 jobs in December, topping the 180,000 that economists were expecting, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9%, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: The final jobs report of 2018 saw even stronger wage growth and increased workforce participation. Both were previously missing factors that have puzzled economists with such a strong labor market.

Payrolls in November were revised higher to 176,000 from 155,000 and in October to 274,000 from 237,000.

  • A total of 2.6 million jobs were added in 2018 — the best showing since 2015.

What they're saying: "December’s strong performance quells any lingering feelings that a hiring plateau might have occurred from the impact of tariffs and recent market volatility," Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group said.

  • "This is one of those prints that will transform the Fed debate. The case for a precautionary pause in normalizing rates is a lot weaker. The economy is doing well right now," tweeted University of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers.

The bottom line: This is an all-around strong jobs report and while it may calm concerns about the health of the economy, the backward-looking report says nothing about what will happen next year.

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Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 2,788,395 — Total deaths: 129,306 — Total recoveries: 790,404 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
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Washington Redskins to review team name amid public pressure

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins have announced they will be conducting a review of the team's name after mounting pressure from the public and corporate sponsors.

Why it matters: This review is the first formal step the Redskins are taking since the debate surrounding the name first began. It comes after weeks of discussions between the team and the NFL, the team said.