U.S. Outlook: Jobs report eases near-term recession concerns

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

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.A woman posting a help wanted sign.

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.

Read my full report.

Nonfarm employment YoY Growth

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