U.S. employers added 148,000 jobs in December, missing expectations for an increase of 190,000 jobs after strong gains in November and a busy holiday season that prompted businesses to hire an influx of employees to keep up with demand.
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The unemployment rate held at 4.1%, the lowest rate in more than 17 years, while the labor force participation rate remained at 62.7% during the month. Average hourly earnings meanwhile increased from $26.55 to $26.63.
Economists expected nonfarm jobs to rise by 190,000 for December, compared with 228,000 the month prior.
The jobs numbers come on the heels of a report Thursday from payroll processing firm ADP, which revealed that 250,000 private sector jobs were added in December, up from 185,000 in November.
Since the 2016 presidential election, more than 1.77 million private sector jobs have been created, and average hourly wages for the private sector have increased by 62 cents, or 2.4%.
National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn will join the FOX Business Network’s “Varney & Co.” at 9:45 a.m. ET for a full analysis of the latest data and what it means for U.S. workers and the economy.