What to expect from Friday’s jobs report, 2023’s final tally

New York CNN — When the final jobs report for 2023 is released this Friday at 8:30 am ET, economists are projecting that the US economy added 160,000 positions in December, marking an average of 232,000 jobs per month through November, and around 2.78 million for the year. While that’s far below the 4.79 million jobs gained in 2022 — the second-highest annual total since 1939 — 2023 will still go down as a year full of twists, turns and historic gains for the labor market. In January last year, the unemployment rate fell to 3.4% , a level not seen since 1969, when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. In April 2023, the unemployment rate for Black workers hit a record low of 4.7% . And then in June, the labor force participation rate for women in their prime working age (25-54 years old) hit an all-time high of 77.8% . The overall labor force participation rate in November was 62.8%, the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic. “It’s been a good year for Black men; it’s been a good year for Black women; it’s been a good year for women in general,” Jane Oates, a former Department of Labor official who is president of employment education nonprofit WorkingNation, told CNN in an interview. Year of the strike 2023 was also, arguably, the year of worker power: While the pandemic prompted many to reassess their career path and work-life balance, the ensuing tight labor market gave them the courage to search for other opportunities. Historically low unemployment and historically elevated job openings meant workers could demand better pay, improved health care or quality-of-life improvements. Shawn Fain, CNN Business’ labor leader of the year, plans to keep automakers sweating Hundreds of thousands of workers went on […]

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