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Financial News: U.S. Job Growth Falls Well Short Of Estimates

U.S. Job Growth Falls Well Short Of Estimates In December

01/05/2018 - 09:16:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - After reporting a bigger than expected jump in employment in the previous month, the Labor Department released a report on Friday showing employment in the U.S. increased by much less than anticipated in the month of December.

The report said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 148,000 jobs in December after spiking by an upwardly revised 252,000 jobs in November.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 190,000 jobs compared to the addition of 228,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

While the jump in employment in November was upwardly revised, the increase in employment in October was downwardly revised to 211,000 jobs from 244,000 jobs, reflecting a net downward revision of 9,000 jobs over the two months.

The report showed another notable increase in employment in the goods-producing sector, which rose by 55,000 jobs in December after climbing by 63,000 jobs in November.

However, growth in employment in the service-providing sector slowed to just 91,000 jobs in December from 176,000 jobs in November.

The slowdown came as the retail industry cut 20,300 jobs, potentially reflecting the shift from brick and mortar stores to online.

"As a comparison, couriers & messengers added only 2,100 jobs, so in net terms the structural shift is hardly positive for employment," said Paul Ashworth, Chief U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate came in at 4.1 percent in December, unchanged from the two previous months and in line with economist estimates.

The unemployment rate remained at a seventeen-year low as the household survey measure of employment showed an increase of 104,000 people, while the labor force expanded by 64,000 people.

The report also said average hourly employee earnings rose by $0.09 or 0.3 percent to $26.63 in December from $26.54 in November.

The annual rate of growth in average hourly earnings accelerated to 2.5 percent in December from a revised 2.4 percent in the previous month.

Ashworth said, "We anticipate a more marked acceleration in wage growth this year, with the annual rate climbing to 3% by end-2018."

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