Upbeat employment report underscores USA economic strength

Upbeat employment report underscores USA economic strength

The Labour Department is set to release its official December employment report Friday.

USA businesses added 312,000 jobs in December, well above what economists expected.

Concerns about the USA economy rose following surveys showing sharp declines in consumer confidence and manufacturing activity last month, which roiled financial markets. Concerns about the economy's health are escalating despite the labor market remaining strong. That would come after the job market fell short of expectations in November, when 155,000 jobs were added.

The BLS said average hourly earnings increased in December by 11 cents, to $27.48 per hour - up 3.2 percent to a new nine-year high.

Job-gain estimates in Bloomberg survey range from 160,000 to 225,000.

165,000 jobs, 3.7 percent unemployment rate, 3.1 percent annual wage growth. Compared with a year earlier, wages were up 3.2 percent, handily beating consumer price increases. The average workweek increased to 34.5 hours in December from 34.4 hours in November.

A third report from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 231,000 for the week ended December 29. Fewer workers worked part-time for economic reasons in December.

The unemployment rate is seen holding steady at 3.7%, its lowest level since 1969 during the Vietnam draft.

Rami Malek confirms romance with Bohemian Rhapsody star
In his acceptance speech, the actor praised the band Queen and especially Freddie Mercury , whom he portrayed in the film. Malek added: "I love you, you handsome man". "The power of movies is that it brings us all together", he said.

"There is no preset path for policy and particularly with the muted inflation readings that we've seen coming in, we will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves", Powell said at the American Economic Association's annual meeting in Atlanta. It's likely that higher wages and plentiful jobs are luring people back into the workforce. The Fed last month forecast two rate hikes this year and signaled its tightening cycle is nearing an end in the face of financial market volatility and slowing global growth.

In recent weeks, financial markets have plunged amid concerns that the US could be in a recession by 2020.

Manufacturing jobs grew by 32,000 last month, construction climbed 38,000, retail was up almost 24,000, health care rose almost 58,000, and leisure and hospitality jumped 55,000. Factory activity in China and the United States have both weakened, with the Institute for Supply Management's US manufacturing index on Thursday posting its steepest decline in a decade.

The ISM's new orders sub-index plunged 11 points to 51.1 last month, the lowest reading since August 2016. Manufacturing payrolls rose by 32,000 jobs in December.

"This should, at least for today, mute expectations that the Fed is off the table completely this year", said Omair Sharif, a senior economist at Societe Generale in NY.

The ripple effects from slower growth overseas could eventually hurt the US economy, David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told NPR's Scott Horsley.

And businesses are still searching for more workers. It needs to create roughly 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population. A strong holiday shopping season is expected to have boosted retail employment while transportation and warehousing payrolls probably rose, driven by seasonal hiring.

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