The U.S. Labor Department released December’s job report. It was mixed bag. Here’s what you need to know:
2019—according to reporting in The New York Times of Friday’s Labor Department report—was a year marked by “steady but slowing gains in employment.”
In her analysis of the U.S. Labor Department’s report, reporter Patricia Cohen quoted economist Gregory Daco: “I think 2019 was a year of consolidation,” Mr. Daco [chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics] said. “We had relatively strong and steady job growth over the year despite a number of headwinds including a trade war with China, weaker global activity and heightened policy uncertainty.”
The bad news, according to The N.Y. Times, these uncertainties about the global trade market are, in part, reason for 2019’s slow wage growth, 2.9%: “far below the 3.4 percent peak reached in February, and down from the 3.3 percent year-over-year average in December 2018.”
Many employers are being more cautious about hiring more employees and increasing wages. December’s payroll and wage growth were disappointing, coming up short of expectations.
The manufacturing sector–which is undergoing enormous shifts–continues to struggle, losing 12,000 positions in December. Construction, as well, is struggling.
Some good news is that, according to The N.Y. Times, the “official unemployment rate has remained at half-century lows”: 3.5%.
Also, the trade deal between the U.S. and China is finally beginning; however, many of the details of the agreement are still uncertain.
Money continues to follow tech’s expansion, particularly into communities fostering new start-ups. Lots of tech jobs are broadening from California, which has remained so dominant in the tech world for decades.
Additionally, consumer confidence remains high. According to The N.Y. Times: “Health care, transportation and logistics, and professional and business services have flourished…The retail sector, which has struggled for much of 2019, was buoyed by the holiday season and added 41,000 jobs in December.”