The economy added an unexpectedly strong 312,00 jobs in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. U.S. employers hired their highest number of workers in 10 months, while also boosting wages. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent in December, due to growth in the overall labor force, up from 3.7 percent in November.
The employment figures for October and November were also revised to show 58,000 more jobs added than previously reported. All told, the economy created 2.6 million jobs last year, compared to 2.2 million in 2017.
There was more good news on the wage front. Average hourly earnings rose 11 cents, or 0.4 percent, in December after gaining 0.2 percent in November. That lifted the annual increase in wages to 3.2 percent.