Report: U.S. Job Creation In 2019 Slowed While Pay Rose 2.9%
Last year saw the weakest gains in job creation in nearly a decade, according to government data released on Friday.
Agence France-Presse reported that “hiring last year slowed notably from the brisk pace seen in 2018: With 2.1 million jobs created, that made 2019 the weakest year since 2011, according to the Labor Department data.”
An average of 175,000 new jobs were added per month last year, compared to the 225,000 average reached in 2018. The decline is not unexpected after such a long period of job growth.
The Labor Department report showed that unemployment remained at its 50-year low of 3.5 percent, and AFP reported that some analysts expect that number to drop even lower as 2020 progresses.
Worker pay rose 2.9 percent, falling below 3 percent for the first time since July 2018, but it remained higher than inflation, allowing Americans to keep up with spending.
Consumer spending is “a mainstay of the world's largest economy,” AFP noted, “but economists say it could weaken if the labor market begins to falter.”
"The labor market performance continues to provide a solid foundation for the main pillar of growth: consumer spending," Oxford Economics' analysts noted in a commentary. "However, as we look into 2020, lingering global headwinds, policy uncertainty and cautious businesses are likely to restrain labor demand amid an increasingly tight labor market."
The stock market responded positively to the report, rising briefly on Friday, but later fell “driven lower in part by crisis-stricken Boeing, closing the day in the red.”