U.S. Outlook: Jobs report eases near-term recession concerns
Following the recent plunge in the ISM Manufacturing Index for December, investor fear of a near-term recession reached a fever pitch and Fed funds futures started pricing in a Fed rate cut in 2019.
What a difference a day makes. The December employment report exceeded all analysts’ expectations.
For more on this, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on Jan. 4.Key observations:
- The U.S. economy added 312,000 jobs in December, a 2.5% annualized pace, bringing the three-month average of monthly job gains to a sizzling 254,000.
- Job growth in the fourth quarter was the strongest in more than two years.
- The U.S. unemployment rate increased by two-tenths of a percentage point in December to 3.9%. The number of unemployed persons increased by 276,000 last month. That was largely due to people voluntarily quitting.
- Strong job growth and improving hourly earnings will keep consumer spending and the U.S. expansion going at a decent pace in the first half of 2019.