Economy

Jobs Gains Miss Expectations, But Wages Up

Employment in the United States grew by a rate that was less than expected last month. But wages rebounded, which shows the economy is still growing at a pace that sets the stage for more interest rate boosts from the Federal Reserve later this year.

As Reuters reported, the 156,000 non-farm payroll rise reported by the Labor Department was less than the 178,000 expected. But as the newswire noted, the gains just reported “are more than sufficient to absorb new entrants into the labor market.”

That number also is above the job creation pace that Janet Yellen, who heads the Federal Reserve, has said needs to be in place, on a monthly basis at roughly 100,000, to absorb the attendant growth in the working-age population domestically. More people entered the labor force this past month, which helped bring the unemployment rate up to 4.7 percent and off multiyear lows of 4.6 percent that had been logged in November.

Overall, the economy created 2.1 million jobs last year, with average monthly growth of about 180,000 jobs (similarly, the PYMNTS Store Front Index showed growth, overall, of 1.7 percent in the third quarter).

As for wages, average hourly earnings were up by a dime in December, which represents a gain of 0.4 percent, reversing a 0.1 percent loss in the previous month. The year on year gain in wages for the month stood at 2.9 percent, up from 2.5 percent in November.

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