The Labor Department reported that the economy added 292,000 jobs in December. There were also upward revisions to job growth for the prior two months, bringing the three month average to 284,000. The growth was widely spread across industries, with construction adding 45,000, employment services adding 42,300, and health care 39,400. However there is still little evidence that the tighter labor market is translating into stronger wage growth. The average hourly wage reportedly fell by 1 cent in the month.
The household survey showed the unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent, but the EPOP rose to 59.5 percent, the highest rate of the recovery. Over the last two months, employment reportedly grew by 732,000. While the monthly employment numbers are erratic, this could be evidence that people are finally re-entering the labor force as the labor market strengthens.