The U.S. finished the 2019 by adding 145,000 jobs in December. Unemployment remained at 3.5 percent.
The Labor Department last week reported hiring was down slightly from November’s gain of 256,000 jobs. November numbers received a boost when the General Motors employee strike ended. On average, the country added 175,000 jobs per month last year. In 2018, the country added an average 223,350 jobs per month.
While unemployment is down, wages also fell in December. Now at an annualized 2.9 percent, this is down from an annualized 3.3 percent average in 2018.
The combination of low and steady interest rates and low inflation appear to be making slow and steady improvement to the nation’s overall economy.
PNC Financial Services Chief Economist Gus Faucher said the country is starting the new year in good shape. He expects consumers to continue driving economic expansion this year.
The report did suggest that weakness still exists in the manufacturing sector. Contributing factors include the trade war with China as well as slowing global economic growth.