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.