Update on December Jobs Report - January 9, 2019

Santa’s Late Christmas Gift – A Blowout December Jobs Report

The US BLS reported that nonfarm payrolls jumped 312,000 in December, the best reading since February.

  • October and November were revised up by 58,000.


Probably not. Nonfarm payrolls have exceeded 300,000 five times since 2015, including the latest.

  • In each instance, payrolls slowed in the following month by an average of 135,000. Still, such a slowdown in January would represent a respectable number.

  • Forward-looking surveys of manufacturing are signaling a slowdown in activity, which could dampen hiring among goods producers.

Investor’s corner

While the economic data have been mixed lately, the surge in hiring helped quiet talk that a recession might be brewing.

  • Strong hiring suggests the business outlook remains generally favorable.

  • Growth averaged 220,000 per month in 2018, the best year since 2015.

Historically, job growth has slowed, not accelerated, in front of a recession.

We may see a moderation in hiring in the coming months, but December’s report suggests economic growth isn’t about to stall.