December Jobs Report: The Labor Market Is Telling Everyone Not to Panic

Nonfarm payrolls illustration

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 312,000 in December

The monthly average upturn in total Canadian jobs in 2018 was an uninspiring +14,000, a pullback of almost two-thirds versus 2017's comparable figure of +36,000. Employment in the leisure and hospitality sector increased by 55,000 jobs.

Both figures are a sign that the United States economy remains strong despite recent stock market volatility over economic growth worries and a prolonged U.S. trade war with China. -China tariff war, softening manufacturing, a housing slowdown and a projected cooling in global growth.

The report did not include the impact of about 380,000 federal workers who were furloughed in December because of the government shutdown. And attacks by Trump on the Federal Reserve over its rate increases have raised doubts about Chairman Jerome Powell's status - a concern for both the markets and the economy.

The expected continuation of steady job growth suggests that some of the risks might be - for the moment, anyway - overblown. However, several transportation industries struggled during the month, with most registering job growth below 1,000 in December. U.S. President Donald Trump called the job growth "GREAT" on Twitter. Citing rising interest rates that are beginning to impact the housing market, manufacturing surveys from Federal Reserve banks in Dallas, Philadelphia, and NY that were less than expected, and fears from stock market investors that the Federal Reserve may continue to push for interest rate increases to ward off inflation, some economists believe these factors could combine to lead the USA economy into a tough situation. Job totals could be lowered by hundreds of thousands of government employees being temporarily put out of work.

The new House Democratic Majority, she said, has already taken the first steps to restore certainty and prosperity to people's lives by passing strong, bipartisan funding bills to reopen government: respecting workers and protecting borders.

Manufacturing, health care, retail and construction led December's growth.

Restaurants and bars added 41,000 to the close the year with a 235,000 gain, down from 261,000 in 2017. In 2017, by comparison, manufacturing had added 207,000 jobs.

Fresh Coat Painters, based in Cincinnati, plans to almost double the 300 employees who paint homes and businesses as it expands this year across this country.

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Tara Riley, president of Fresh Coat, said that franchise owners are having to actively search for workers instead of simply posting ads.

Much of this surprising uptick in new jobs has come from medium-sized businesses, according to ADP's National Employment Report for December.

With the labor market viewed as at or beyond full employment, job growth is expected to slow this year as workers become more scarce.

But hiring has easily eclipsed that pace.

The US mining industry increased employment by 3,700 jobs to 710,700 positions in December, the Labor Department reported Friday.

At some point, even if the economy remains healthy, monthly job gains will likely downshift to a more gradual pace. "A large percentage of the industry is approaching retirement age, with fewer people entering the industry to replace them". The number of unemployed increased by 276,000 to 6.3 million.

"We're seeing two different economic realities right now", said Martha Gimbel, research director for the Hiring Lab at Indeed, an employment website.

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