U.S. employers added 312,000 non-farm jobs in December, far exceeding forecasts, according to a Friday report from the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected a 182,000 increase, on average. Despite the gains, the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent as 419,000 more people entered the labor force searching for work.
A broader measure of unemployment that takes into account discouraged workers and those doing part-time jobs for economic reasons remained at 7.6 percent.
Wages increased by 0.4 percent over the previous month, and 3.2 percent from a year ago, tying October for the best year-over-year increase since April 2009. The job gains showed that the economy remains strong despite growing concerns of a global slowdown.