US employers added a stellar 312,000 jobs in December

U.S. employers added 312,000 jobs in December, blowing past Wall Street’s expectations for an increase of 177,000 jobs, even on the heels of a tumultuous month for the markets that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 post the worst month since the Great Depression.
The unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent, while the labor force participation rate also rose slightly to 63.1 percent from 62.9 percent during the month. Average hourly earnings meanwhile rose by 11 cents to $27.48. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by a total of 84 cents, or about 3.2 percent. Jobs numbers come on the heels of a report Thursday from payroll processing firm ADP, which revealed the private sector added 271,000 jobs in December, soaring past analysts’ expectations of 178,000 jobs.
Analysts anticipated that unemployment would hold steady at 3.7 percent, while forecasting the creation of 177,000 jobs, according to economists polled by Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters).
The stronger-than-expected number comes in the midst of concerns about a softening economy.
On Wednesday, after Apple cut its quarterly revenue estimates by billions of dollars, shares of the iPhone maker plummeted. CEO Tim Cook blamed the decline in sales largely on a nearly year-long trade war between the U.S. and China that’s rattled both countries’ economies.