State of the Labor Market

December Jobs Report: The Labor Market Is Telling Everyone Not to Panic


Jobs Report December 2018: With a jobs number that left many of us speechless, 2018 closed out with a bang.

Job growth last month, at 312,000 new jobs, was higher than in 93% of other months during this job creation streak. This number pushed overall average monthly job growth in 2018 to 220,000, higher than in 2017 or 2016 (and close to what it was in 2015, earlier in the recovery). The unemployment rate was 3.9%, compared to 3.7% in November.

Wage growth also continued to accelerate this month, reaching 3.2% for private-sector workers. More importantly, wage growth was concentrated among workers in lower-wage industries. Once again, the labor market appears to be providing the growth that workers have needed for so long.

However, people should not get used to numbers like the ones we saw this month. Eventually, job growth is going to start slowing down. When that happens, we shouldn’t panic. In the meantime, we should enjoy the ride.

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