US employers add a surprisingly strong 216,000 jobs in a sign of continued economic strength

1 of 4 | Workers walk among shipping containers at a BNSF intermodal terminal, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Edgerton, Kan. On Friday, the U.S. government issues its December jobs report. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) 2 of 4 | A worker moves a package at an Amazon same-day delivery shipping center in Woodland Park, New Jersey, on Monday, December 18, 2023. On Friday, the U.S. government issues its December jobs report.(AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey) 3 of 4 | File – An employee of the Lexington Candy Shop prepares a Coke float at the luncheonette on Sept. 28, 2023, in New York. On Friday, the U.S. government issues its December jobs report. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) 4 of 4 | File – Agents check-in passengers and their baggage at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Dec. 21, 2023, in Houston. On Friday, the U.S. government issues its December jobs report. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s employers added a robust 216,000 jobs last month, the latest sign that the American labor market remains resilient even in the face of sharply higher interest rates. Friday’s government report showed that December’s job gain exceeded the 173,000 that were added in November. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% — the 23rd straight month that joblessness has come in below 4%. Some details of the report, though, may disappoint the inflation fighters at the Federal Reserve, who might now be inclined to delay any cuts in their benchmark interest rate. Average hourly wages rose 4.1% from a year earlier, up from a 4% gain in November, which could make it harder for the Fed to slow inflation back to its 2% target. Still, taken as a whole, the December jobs report reflected a healthy economy, with steady job growth, rising wages […]

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