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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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Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 30,557,899 — Total deaths: 952,981— Total recoveries: 20,822,644Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 6,730,304 — Total deaths: 198,679 — Total recoveries: 2,556,465 — Total tests: 93,150,052Map.
  3. Politics: In reversal, CDC again recommends coronavirus testing for asymptomatic people.
  4. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — Massive USPS face mask operation called off — How the American diet worsens COVID-19.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety net.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.
  7. World: Guatemalan president tests positive for COVID-19.

Trump says Republicans have an "obligation" to fill Ginsburg's seat

President Trump. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

President Trump wrote in a tweet Saturday morning that Republicans have an "obligation" to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the Supreme Court following her death Friday.

What he's saying: "We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices," the president said, tagging the Republican Party. "We have this obligation, without delay!"

Hundreds gather to pay tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg along Supreme Court steps

Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

At the Supreme Court steps Friday night hundreds of people gathered to pay tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — singing in a candlelight vigil, with some in tears.

Details: If there is a singular mood at the Supreme Court tonight, it’s some kind of a daze manifested by silence.