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Solid U.S. Job Growth in December; Wage Growth Slows

The U.S. economy added jobs at a solid rate in December, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.5%, a pre-pandemic low.

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However, wage growth slowed, which may provide some relief to Federal Reserve officials.

The household employment rate increased by 717,000 jobs last month. Despite the Fed raising interest rates quickly since March, the labor market has remained strong and is supporting consumer spending. However, the strong economy raises the risk that the Fed may increase its target interest rate above the 5.1% projection made last month.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 223,000 in December, with the leisure and hospitality industry adding the most jobs. Healthcare, construction, and manufacturing also saw employment increases. Wages rose by 0.3%, but the year-on-year growth slowed to 4.6%. The average workweek decreased slightly to 34.3 hours.