The last read on U.S. job growth in 2022 showed the labor market remained strong in the final month of the year, even as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates to the highest level in 15 years.
The Labor Department published its monthly jobs report for December at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday. Here are highlights from the release, compared to Wall Street estimates compiled by Bloomberg:
Non-farm payrolls: +223,000 vs. +202,000 expected
Unemployment rate: 3.5% vs. 3.7% expected
Average hourly earnings, month-over-month: +0.3% vs. +0.4% expected
Average hourly earnings, year-over-year: +4.6% vs. +5.0% expected
November’s payroll reading was downwardly revised to 256,000 from 263,000 previously reported, while the unemployment rate was revised down to 3.6% from 3.7% in the preliminary reading.
Headline employment numbers have retreated in recent months, but hiring remains robust despite the Fed’s efforts to tamp down momentous job growth that has placed upward pressure on wages and contributed to stubborn inflation. In 2022, the U.S. economy added 4.5 million payrolls at an average monthly increase of 375,000.
Average hourly earnings rose at a slightly lower pace last month of 0.3% from a downwardly revised 0.4% in November, while the annual gain in wages edged down to 4.6% from 4.8% the prior month.
Stock futures rose after the report’s release as Wall Street weighed the potential implications of slowing wage growth.
The labor force participation rate was ticked up slightly to 62.3% last month, still 1% below its level in February 2020 before the COVID pandemic began, the Labor Department said in its release, also indicating the measure has been largely unchanged since early 2022.
At the industry level, the largest gains were seen across leisure and hospitality, health care, construction, and social assistance.
Leisure and hospitality, one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, continued a strong recovery, with employers adding 67,000 jobs during the month. An average 79,000 leisure and hospitality jobs were added or created per month across 2022, a fraction of the 196,000 jobs per month gained in 2021. Employment in the sector remains 932,000 jobs — or 5.85% — short of pre-COVID levels.
(This post is breaking. Please check back for updates.)
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc
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