Job growth eases in December.

Friday – January 5

The Labor Department reports that 148,000 new jobs were created in December, below the 188,000 expected, while November was revised higher to 252,000 from the 228,000 originally reported. It was the 87th month in a row for job growth, the longest stretch of growth on record. The Unemployment Rate remained at 4.1%, a 17-year low.

Within the report it showed that average hourly earnings rose 0.3% from November’s 0.2% and increased 2.5% year over year, above the 2.4% annually in November. The U6 number, which measures total unemployment, fell to 8.1% in December, down from 9.1% in December 2016. So, overall, it was a good report.

The service sector of the economy edged lower in December signaling continued growth though at a slightly slower pace. The ISM Service Index fell 1.5 points to 55.9 in December and below the 57.6 expected. Despite the small decline, December was the 96th consecutive month of economic growth in the service sector. A reading above 50 for the index indicates expansion in the service sector, and a reading below 50 signals contraction. Within the report it revealed that the employment component edged higher.