The Labor Department also revised job numbers for October and November, with both month's showing more jobs created than previously thought.
Jobless claims ended the year around the lowest levels since the late 1960s, when the US population was about 62% of its current size.
Hiring last month was likely across all sectors.
Economists expect the report out at 8:30 a.m. ET will show nonfarm payrolls rose by 184,000 jobs last month, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
But employment components of the latest regional surveys and initial claims data suggest labour demand remains strong, according to Lewis Alexander, an analyst at Nomura.
USA stocks extended losses on the weak ISM survey, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 600 points at one point.
The nation's unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.9 percent last month, but that, too, was considered a positive sign, reflecting an increase in Americans beginning to look for work.
The economy grew at a 3.4 percent pace in the third quarter.
Average hourly earnings are seen rising 0.3% in December after gaining 0.2% in November. Fewer workers worked part-time for economic reasons in December.
UK house prices take pre-Brexit hit - Nationwide
In London, the average house price in the fourth quarter of 2018 was £466,988 - 0.8% lower than the same period in 2017. EY ITEM Clubs's chief economic advisor Howard Archer warned house prices could tumble in an event of a no deal.
The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% as more people were looking for work.
"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. Powell said the USA central bank was "always prepared to shift the stance of policy and to shift it significantly" if necessary.
The U.S. central bank raised rates four times in 2018.
More broadly, the US labor market is extraordinarily tight, leaving businesses reluctant to let workers go.
Major stock market indexes, which have seen massive swings in recent weeks, rebounded Friday morning after the labor report was released. The dollar dropped against a basket of currencies, while U.S. Treasury yields fell.
In the US, consumers did not hold back this holiday season, with sales up 5.1 percent over previous year, according to a Mastercard report. The number of unemployed increased by 276,000 to 6.3 million. The Labor Department has not been affected by the partial shutdown of the USA government and will continue to publish economic data complied by its statistics agency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But the expected continuation of steady job growth suggests that such risks might be - for the moment, anyway - overblown. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Refinitiv was for 177,000 new jobs. It needs to create roughly 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.
It is expected to slow to around 150,000 per month this year as workers become more scarce. Anecdotal evidence has been growing of companies experiencing difficulties finding workers, and raising wages to retain and attract employees.
The ADP report has a spotty record predicting the private-payrolls component of the government's employment report and last month's surge probably exaggerates the strength of the labor market because of a seasonal quirk.