The U.S. economy continues its upward trajectory with 145,000 jobs added in December. This makes for a decade of steady payroll growth, which is the longest stretch in 80 years, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Unemployment remained at a 50-year-low level, at 3.5 percent, and wages in the private sector went up almost 3 percent from a year before, which is the smallest gain since July 2018.
Andrew Chamberlain, an economist at job search site Glassdoor Inc., said the slowing wage growth is a disappointing measurement because the job growth is “setting the stage for more robust hiring as we enter the 2020s.”
With all the bright spots, wage growth “remains the one aspect of the job market that hasn’t fully recovered during the decade since the Great Recession,” he said.
The data shows that while many Americans can find employment, the jobs don’t necessarily pay high wages. Some of the large growth in retail jobs can be attributed to the holiday shopping season.
Last year, employers added 2.11 million jobs, down from 2.68 in 2018, putting 2019 in eighth place over the last decade. The hiring slowdown was indicative of employers’ difficulty in finding enough workers, as well as worldwide economic trepidation and lingering effects of the 2018 tax cuts.
Non-farm payrolls for women exceeded those for men for the first time since 2010, which shows impressive growth in the healthcare and hospitality industries, fields that have larger numbers of female workers, and is indicative of future trends.
Retail locations added 41,200 jobs, which is the biggest jump in that sector since January 2017. Construction also had a good month, adding 20,000 workers. Warehousing, transportation and manufacturing all saw their numbers shrink.
The unemployment rate is at its lowest since 1969.