- Job creation kept the pace in December, with the U.S. economy creating 252,000 jobs
to close out the year, while the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent.
- The U.S. was expected to create 240,000 jobs in December, after adding an unexpectedly
strong 353,000 jobs the prior month. The unemployment rate was seen falling to 5.7
percent from 5.8 percent a month earlier. An alternative measure that includes the
underemployed and those who have stopped searching for employment also fell, moving
from 11.4 percent to 11.2 percent, its lowest reading since October 2008.
- After initially reacting positively to the report, markets changed direction with
stocks opening in negative territory.
- Businesses had been creating jobs at a monthly pace of 224,000, though wage growth
remained modest and the drop in the headline rate had come in large part due to
a decline in the labor force participation rate. Indeed, the participation rate
continued to plummet, falling to a fresh 37-year low of 62.7 percent.