Jobs Numbers
January 4, 2019

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. Harold Maass

December 7, 2018

U.S. employers added 155,000 non-farm jobs in November, the Labor Department reported Friday, continuing months of solid hiring but falling short of expectations. Economists polled by MarketWatch on average had forecast a gain of 190,000 jobs.

Unemployment remained at 3.7 percent for the third straight month, a 49-year low. Hourly wages rose by 0.2 percent to $27.35 an hour, leaving the 12-month rate of hourly wage gains unchanged at a nine-year high of 3.1 percent.

The solid numbers came despite warning signs of slowing growth and concerns over trade tensions. Hiring got a boost from higher-than-usual holiday hiring as retailers prepare for what they expect to be a strong holiday season. Harold Maass

November 2, 2018

U.S. non-farm employers added 250,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department reported Friday. The figure beat an average forecast of 208,000 new jobs by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The gains were enough to keep the unemployment rate at 3.7 percent, a 48-year low.

The continued strong hiring has made it harder for employers to find and keep workers, contributing to higher take-home pay for employees. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.2 percent last month to $27.30 an hour. The wage increase over the past 12 months rose to 3.1 percent from 2.8 percent, marking the first time that number has reached 3 percent since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009. Harold Maass

September 7, 2018

Hiring continued at a strong pace in August with U.S. employers adding 201,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday morning. The numbers came in at or above what economists polled by MarketWatch and Reuters expected. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9 percent. July's gain was revised to 149,000 from an initially reported 159,000, and June's was reduced from 248,000 to 208,000. Economists had predicted strong hiring encouraged by healthy consumer demand and economic growth. The yearly rate of pay increases hit the highest level since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009, rising from 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent, CNBC reported. Harold Maass

July 6, 2018

The Labor Department reported Friday that U.S. employers added 213,000 jobs in June, exceeding economists' expectations in the latest sign of accelerating economic growth. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had predicted a gain of 200,000 non-farm jobs, on average.

The strong report represented an expected drop from a surge in May. The government on Friday revised May's gains up to 244,000 from the initially reported 223,000, Reuters reported. Just 120,000 new jobs are enough to keep up with growth in the working-age population. The unemployment rate rose from 3.8 percent, the lowest since 2000, to 4 percent, as more people entered the work force and students grabbed summer jobs. Average hourly wages rose by 5 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $26.98. Harold Maass

March 9, 2018

U.S. employers added 313,000 non-farm jobs in February, exceeding expectations and marking the biggest gain since mid-2016. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted an increase of 222,000 jobs. January's gains were adjusted up to 239,000 from 200,000. Unemployment remained at 4.1 percent, and hourly pay rose by 4 cents to $26.75. The 12-month wage gain fell from 2.8 percent in January to 2.6 percent in February. The slowdown in wage growth pointed to a gradual increase in inflation, suggesting little reason to adjust expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates at its next two-day policy meeting, which starts March 20. Harold Maass

February 2, 2018

U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs in January, beating economists' expectations of 190,000 jobs gained, MarketWatch reported. The figure marked a pickup from December, when the economy added a modest 160,000 new jobs, a number adjusted up from the originally reported 148,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low. Wages rose by 2.9 percent over the last 12 months, the biggest jump since the Great Recession ended nearly nine years ago, as employers battled for candidates to fill record-high job openings. The figures were the latest in a long series of signs of strengthening employment. Stocks extended their losses after the report, with Dow Jones Industrial Average futures down by 255 points. Harold Maass

January 5, 2018

U.S. employers added 148,000 non-farm jobs in December, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The numbers fell short of the average increase of about 190,000 predicted by economists, and marked a slowdown from an average increase of 232,000 in the two previous months. Economists had been predicting that hiring would slow down eventually, just not this soon. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent. Wages increased by 2.5 percent over the last 12 months, edging up from November's 2.4 percent figure, but still considered sluggish. Harold Maass

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