Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 190,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists, after a gain of 228,000 in November. Despite the anticipated moderation, employment gains would still be above the monthly average of 170,000 over the past three months.
Harsh weather in some parts of the country likely contributed to some of the job growth slowdown in December. The unemployment rate was unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 190,000 in December. The economy needs to create 75,000 to 100,000 jobs per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.
“We do not think that today’s employment report will keep the Federal Reserve from tightening again at the March policy meeting, given other strong recent economic data,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio.
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