Economy Adds 148,000 New Jobs in December

January 5, 2018

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 revealed another month of steady job gains for the U.S. economy, with employers adding 148,000 new jobs in December and an unemployment rate steady at 4.1 percent — a 17-year low.

With this morning’s December report, the U.S. economy created a total of 2.06 million jobs in 2017. That’s down from 2.24 million jobs created in 2016, and is the slowest pace of overall job creation since the depths of the Great Recession in 2010 — a sign that we are late in the economic cycle, and further job gains will be a challenge in 2018 with the economy already near full employment.

Wage growth remained stagnant in December, with average hourly earnings up just 2.5 percent from a year ago. That’s roughly the same pace average wages have been growing at for the past year. According to Glassdoor’s Local Pay Reports, median base pay for full-time workers was up just 1.1 percent from a year ago in December. Most economists expect pay to accelerate in 2018 as labor shortages continue to worsen in key fields such as health care, e-commerce, tech, and professional services.

The industries adding the most jobs in December were construction (+30,000 jobs), health care (+29,200 jobs), leisure and hospitality (+29,000 jobs), manufacturing (+25,000 jobs), and professional and business services (+19,000 jobs). The industries with the weakest job gains in December were retail (-20,300 jobs), utilities (-900 jobs), and mining and logging (+0 jobs).

Today’s positive jobs report marks 87 consecutive months of positive job gains for the economy. The end of December marks 102 months for the current economic expansion, making it the third longest in U.S. history since the 1850s. This late in the economic cycle, economists will be watching closely in 2018 for any sign of economic clouds on the horizon — including rising oil prices, unexpected tightening of monetary policy by the Fed, or any slowing of recent gains in the housing and stock markets.

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.