The U.S. labor market remained strong as 2022 came to an end according to the monthly jobs report for December that was released by the Labor Department on Friday.
223,000 non-farm payrolls were added in December, thereby outpacing the 202,000 payroll rise projected by Wall Street analysts. As a result, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, thereby proving the labor market’s resilience in the face of the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates to their highest levels in 15 years.
While the unemployment rate beat analysts’ estimates of 3.7%, average hourly earnings of non-farm employees on a monthly basis increased by 0.3%, falling marginally short of an expected 0.4% growth. On a year-over-year basis, average hourly earnings increased by 4.6%, falling short of projections of a 5.0% rise.
Despite employment numbers fluctuating in recent months, hiring continues to remain robust. This trend is contrary to the Federal Reserves’ aim to limit exponential job growth which is placing pressure on wages and driving inflation upward.