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U.S. Economy Adds 145,000 Jobs in December, Falls Short of Consensus Forecast

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. economy added 145,000 jobs in December 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), falling short of expectations. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast an increase of 165,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.5 percent.

The BLS also revised both October and November job totals downward based on more complete data. The number of new jobs added in October was adjusted slightly downward to 152,000 from 156,000, while the figure for November decreased by 10,000 to 256,000. Following the revisions, job gains have averaged 184,000 over the past three months.

Notable December job gains occurred in three sectors: retail trade, leisure and hospitality, and healthcare. More specifically, the retail trade sector added 41,000 jobs, the leisure and hospitality sector gained 40,000 jobs and the healthcare sector added 28,000 jobs.

Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry grew by 388,000 in 2019, up from 359,000 in 2018. Meanwhile, the healthcare sector added 399,000 jobs in 2019, compared with an increase of 350,000 jobs in 2018.

Conversely, mining employment declined by 8,000 in December. For all of 2019, employment in mining declined by 24,000, after rising by 63,000 in 2018.

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $28.32. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9 percent.

— Alex Tostado

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