1/8: MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY

Job growth rebounded sharply to 312,000 in December

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 312,000 in December, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent. Job gains occurred in health care, food services and drinking places, construction, manufacturing, and retail trade.

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December Employment Trends Index rose 5.4 percent year-on-year, suggests continued growth ahead

The Employment Trends Index rose sharply in December and was up 5.4 percent year-on-year, reversing the declines in recent months and suggesting that employment will continue to expand in the coming months. All the main measures of wages are now rapidly accelerating, suggesting that more people from the sidelines will return to the labor force in 2019. The improving labor force participation rate in December led to an increase in the unemployment rate to 3.9 percent.

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December service sector index dips 3.1 points to 57.6 but still in growth mode

The NMI® registered 57.6 percent, which is 3.1 percentage points lower than the November reading of 60.7 percent. Respondents indicate that there still is concern about tariffs, despite the hold on increases by the U.S. and China. Also, comments reflect that capacity constraints have lessened; however, employment-resource challenges remain.

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