MONTHLY JOB GROWTH
- Julio Cortez/Associated Press
The economy added 148,000 jobs in December
, almost all of them in the private sector. That’s far below the 2017 monthly average of 171,000 jobs added but is enough to keep up with population growth and chip away at unemployment. The economy added 252,000 jobs in November and 211,000 jobs in October.
ANNUAL JOB GROWTH
U.S. payrolls grew by a seasonally adjusted 2.1 million in 2017, a solid gain, though it was the lowest since 2010. For the first time since the 1990s, the economy has added at least 2 million jobs a year for seven consecutive years.
The jobless rate remained at 4.1% for the third consecutive month, the lowest since late 2000. The rate is below what the Federal Reserve projects will be the economy’s long-run average, suggesting a tight labor
. Unemployment has fallen just over half a percentage point since December 2016, when it stood at 4.7%.
The average hourly paycheck for private-sector workers grew 2.5% in 2017, more than enough to keep up with inflation, but a modest gain compared with prior expansions. That suggests the labor market still has some slack despite the low unemployment rate. Hourly wages grew 9 cents, or 0.34%, in December from a month earlier.
The labor-force participation rate didn’t budge in 2017 despite two million jobs added. The share of American workers with jobs or looking for work stood at 62.7% in December, the same as a year earlier. While retiring baby boomers account for much of the weakness in participation, millions of working-age Americans remain on the sidelines.