Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in December

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The American economy added 156,000 new jobs last month, 90,000 of which were needed to keep up with population growth. This means that net job growth clocked in at a ho-hum 66,000 jobs—nearly all of it in the private sector. The headline unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.7 percent. Overall, it was sort of a blah showing, with 60,000 people finding new jobs and 120,000 people added to the unemployment rolls. The labor force participation rate stayed steady.

But there was also some good news: hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees went up at an annual rate of slightly more than 4 percent. That’s excellent, and suggests that the labor market is starting to firm up. If the Fed doesn’t get too antsy about this, it could mean that 2017 will see some pretty decent wage growth.

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