Economy Chalks Up 312,000 Job Gains in December

The latest jobs numbers are out from the federal government. What do they mean for job seekers and employers? Here’s a quick take from Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain:

This morning’s jobs report provided much-need reassurance to Wall Street that despite recent stock market volatility, the underlying economy is strong and growing.

Employers added a whopping 312,000 new jobs to payrolls — the fastest pace since February 2018 and well above expectations, with solid job gains across a wide variety of industries.

In addition, wage growth continued to accelerate in December, with average hourly earnings rising by 3.2 percent from a year ago — the fastest pace since April 2009, and up from last month’s 3.1 percent pace. In December, Glassdoor’s Local Pay Reports showed median pay for full-time workers rising at 3.5 percent to 4 percent annually in tech-heavy coastal metros such as San Francisco and New York City.

The nation’s strong economy pulled new workers back into the job market in December, with roughly 419,000 workers joining the labor force. That influx of new workers looking for jobs slightly boosted the unemployment rate to 3.9 percent in December — up from last month’s 3.7 percent, but still near historic lows. The nation’s lagging labor force participation rate increased 0.2 percent in December as well, to 63.1 percent.

Among industries, today’s robust job gains were led by health care, which added 57,900 jobs alone in December. Other industries with strong job gains included leisure and hospitality (+55,000 jobs), professional and business services (+43,000 jobs), construction (+38,000 jobs), manufacturing (+32,000 jobs), and retail trade (+23,800 jobs)

With a lingering federal government shutdown, many government data releases have been delayed, leaving Wall Street analysts with less information than usual about the state of the nation’s economy. That lack of information has fueled market volatility and fears of a slowing economy. Today’s December jobs report provides much-needed reassurance that the underlying economy remains strong as of December —  likely to have a calming impact on markets in coming weeks.

While there are many economic risks on the horizon, today’s BLS jobs report shows the job market remained strong and healthy as the economy closed the door on 2018. With more than 6.7 million online U.S. jobs on Glassdoor as of December, hiring remains strong as the economy enters 2019.

To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about today’s jobs report or to discuss labor market trends, contact pr at Glassdoor dot com. For the latest economics and labor market updates, follow @adchamberlain on Twitter and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.