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U.S. Economy Added 145,000 Jobs in December, Unemployment at 50 YEAR LOW of 3.5%

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The Democrats are going to explode. Since President Trump took office three years ago, the national economic engine has been roaring, generating widespread prosperity across every corner of the country.

During the first 26 months of the Obama administration, on the other hand, the unemployment rate spiked all the way to 10 percent, and then stayed stubbornly above 9 percent. While those discouraging numbers were in large part a product of the Great Recession, job creation had remained unfortunately sluggish throughout the remainder of his time in office. The official unemployment rate also masked the severity of economic misery under President Obama because a modest increase in part time jobs took attention away from the loss of full time employment opportunities. The result was widespread underemployment, which forced many working families to simply make do with lower incomes.

During the first 26 months of the Obama administration, on the other hand, the unemployment rate spiked all the way to 10 percent, and then stayed stubbornly above 9 percent. While those discouraging numbers were in large part a product of the Great Recession, job creation had remained unfortunately sluggish throughout the remainder of his time in office. The official unemployment rate also masked the severity of economic misery under President Obama because a modest increase in part time jobs took attention away from the loss of full time employment opportunities. The result was widespread underemployment, which forced many working families to simply make do with lower incomes.

Under President Trump, full time jobs have rapidly replaced part time jobs, providing workers with the sort of financial stability they need to provide for their families and make long term plans such as saving or college or buying a home. This is no modest achievement, nor is the economic growth over the past two years.

U.S. Economy Added 145,000 Jobs in December

Employers have added jobs for record 10 years, longest stretch in 80 years of data

By Eric Morath and Amara Omeokwe, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 10, 2020:

WASHINGTON—U.S. employers have added jobs for a record 10 years, December data showed, pointing to steady economic growth heading into 2020.

The economy added 145,000 jobs last month and unemployment stayed at a 50-year low of 3.5%, capping a 10th straight year of payroll gains and the longest stretch in 80 years of data, the Labor Department said Friday.

Private-sector wages advanced 2.9% from a year earlier, the smallest annual gain since July 2018. Revisions showed payrolls for November and October were revised down by a net 14,000.

For all of last year, employers added 2.11 million jobs. That was a slowdown from 2018’s robust gain of 2.68 million and ranked 2019 eighth for job growth in the past 10 years. A cooler pace of hiring reflected employers’ difficulty finding enough workers, global economic uncertainty and the fading effects of 2018’s tax cuts

In December, employers added jobs in construction and retail. The health-care and professional-services sectors grew, but at a slower pace. Employment fell in manufacturing and transportation and warehousing.

The unemployment rate in recent months has trended near its lowest level since 1969. An alternative measure, which captures those underemployed and marginally attached to the workforce, the U-6, fell to 6.7%, the lowest on records back to 1994.

The share of Americans working or seeking work held steady in December. The so-called labor-force participation rate was 63.2%. The rate had slowly edged higher in recent years, but remains well below levels before the recession, reflecting changing demographics and the fact some Americans have given up seeking work.

Average hourly earning increased 3 cents last month to $28.32. Wages were up 2.9% from a year earlier—still above inflation, but modest relative to other periods with historically low unemployment.

“We are not seeing any evidence to date that a strong labor market is putting excessive cost-push pressure on price inflation,” Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida said Thursday.

The Fed cut its benchmark interest rate three times last year, but has signaled it plans to hold the rate steady for now, depending on economic developments.

Jenny Vega is among the Americans seeing bigger paychecks. Late last year, the 30-year-old took a job guiding jets as a ramp agent for Alaska Airlines at Seattle’s international airport. The job pays more than $16 an hour—at least a $2 hourly increase from what she earned at recent retail and warehouse jobs—and offered overtime during the holiday travel season.

That helped pay for Christmas presents for her two daughters, Ms. Vega said.

“It really stinks to be out there for 10 hours when it’s raining,” she said. “But once you get that paycheck, you don’t cry too much.”

Friday’s report is based on surveys mainly taken during the middle of last month, and as such may not fully reflect developments that occurred late last year, including progress in trade talks with China, completion of a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and Congress passing a broad spending bill. The data also doesn’t reflect heightened tension between the U.S. and Iran.

Given the changing environment, some firms are moving cautiously.

Synovos Inc. added about 200 employees in recent years to its staff that operates warehouses and supplies spare parts to factories and other large facilities, such as universities. But the company stopped expanding its payroll the past six months, as some customers slowed output.

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