The U.S. economy added +223,000 new jobs in December, well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of +200,000. The Bureau for Labor Statistics (BLS) data revealed that the private sector added + 220,000.
November's job gain of was revised to +256,00 (vs. prior estimate of +263,000)
The BLS data also suggested that unemployment rate in December fell to 3.5%, the lowest since 1969. The labor force participation rate rose slightly from 62.2% to 62.3%. Average hourly earnings were up +4.6% year-over-year in December, albeit a smaller climb vs. 4.8% seen in November.
On Wednesday, BLS released the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data that showed strong labor demand with historically high 10.5 million job openings in the US in November, similar to October's figure. The preliminary layoff rate for November was 0.9%, near the historic low.