The U.S. added 216,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent in December, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The December jobs gain beat expectations from economists, who projected the U.S. to add roughly 170,000 jobs last month, according to consensus estimates, reports The Hill.
December also extended the longest stretch the unemployment rate has been below 4 percent since the mid-1960s.
The jobs report bookends a surprisingly strong year that largely defied earlier fears that interest rate hikes intended to bring down inflation would trigger a recession and drive more people out of work, The Hill reports.
Private sector earnings were also up 0.4 percent, according to the report. The average hourly wage has increased 4.1 percent over the past year, outstripping inflation, which clocked in at 3.1 percent in November.
Even so, there were significant downward revisions of past jobs gains, The Hill reports. November’s initially reported gain of 150,000 was revised down to 105,000, and an October gain of 199,000 jobs was revised down to 173,000.
“Overall, solid headline numbers, but some of the dynamics under the hood are more worrying,” Martha Gimbel, a research scholar at Yale Law School who recently left the White House Council of Economic Advisers, wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. She pointed to the downward revisions as part of this.
“With a total of 2.7 million new jobs created, 2023 was a year that beat economic expectations by every metric,” House Budget Committee ranking member Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) said.