Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
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.

Go deeper

Janet Yellen is back

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images

A face familiar to Wall Street is back as a central player that this time will need to steer the country out of a deep economic crisis.

Driving the news: President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to nominate former Fed chair Janet Yellen to be Treasury secretary.

Mike Allen, author of AM
31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Charles Koch: "I screwed up"

In his first on-camera interview in four years, Charles Koch told "Axios on HBO" that he "screwed up by being partisan," rather than approaching his network's big-spending political action in a more nonpartisan way.

Why it matters: Koch — chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, which Forbes yesterday designated as America's largest private company — has been the left's favorite face of big-spending political action.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

What overwhelmed hospitals look like

A healthcare professional suits up to enter a COVID-19 patient's room in the ICU at Van Wert County Hospital in Ohio. Photo: Megan Jelinger/AFP

Utah doctors are doing what they say is the equivalent of rationing care. Intensive care beds in Minnesota are nearly full. And the country overall continues to break hospitalization records — all as millions of Americans travel to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family.

Why it matters: America's health care workers are exhausted, and the sickest coronavirus patients aren't receiving the kind of care that could make the difference between living and dying.