Payroll growth decelerated in December but was still better than expected, a sign that the labor market remains strong even as the Federal Reserve tries to slow economic growth.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 223,000 for the month, above the Dow Jones estimate for 200,000, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, 0.2 percentage point below the expectation. The job growth marked a small decrease from the 256,000 gain in November, which was revised down 7,000 from the initial estimate.
Wage growth was less than expected in an indication that inflation pressures could be weakening. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% for the month and increased 4.6% from a year ago. The respective estimates were for growth of 0.4% and 5%.
By sector, leisure and hospitality led with 67,000 added jobs, followed by health care (55,000), construction (28,000) and social assistance (20,000).... Read More: CNBC