January 8, 2024 –Employers Add 216,000 New Jobs in December


The US economy added 216,000 new jobs in December, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent, while hourly wages rose by 0.4 percent for the month or 4.2 percent from a year ago.

The labor market closed in 2023 far better than expected, with economists expecting the addition of 170,000 new jobs and for the unemployment rate to move up a bit to 3.8 percent. Wages were expected to be up 0.3 percent for the month and 3.9 percent for the year. The employment numbers are encouraging except for the evidence of inflation in wages.

The US economy continues to avoid slipping into a recession despite the 11 interest rate hikes since March 2022, the most aggressive monetary policy in 40 years. Rates moved up from effectively zero to the current 5.25 percent. The Fed’s 2 percent inflation target has not been reached, so it’s unlikely rates will move down before the second half of this year. The Fed has been encouraged by the recent data and said at the December meeting they are projecting three quarter-point cuts this year.