Nonfarm payrolls in the United States increased much less than expected in December, while the unemployment rate fell.
The December employment data showed a 199,000 gain in nonfarm payrolls, significantly behind the 450,000 jobs growth projected in a Bloomberg survey, while November payrolls received a minor upward revision to a 249,000 increase.
Private payrolls increased by 211,000 in December, following a 270,000 increase in November, falling short of the 405,000 increase projected. The number of leisure and hospitality jobs increased by 53,000.
The unemployment rate declined to 3.9 % in December from 4.2 % in November, contrary to the 4.1 % projected, while labor force participation remained stable at 61.9 % in November and the labor force expanded. The data included annual updates to the household survey.
The employment-to-population ratio, used by some Federal Reserve officials as a measure of progress toward the Fed’s employment targets, increased to 59.5 % in November from 59.3 % in November, but remains significantly below pre-pandemic levels.
Hourly earnings increased by 0.6 % , exceeding the 0.4 % increase predicted and following a 0.4 % increase in November. Hourly earnings increased by 4.7 % year on year.
US Equity Futures
The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 41 points or 0.1%, S&P 500 futures slipped 5 points or 0.1%, and Nasdaq futures declined 47 points or 0.3%.
Oil prices rose, with front-month global benchmarks Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate crude were up 0.19% and 0.2% respectively, supported by the escalating civil unrest in oil-rich Kazakhstan.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was up by $0.02 at $79.47 per barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange. The global benchmark Brent crude gained $0.19 to $82.16 per barrel and natural gas futures were $0.11 higher at $3.92 per 1 million BTU.
In other world markets, Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.03% lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 1.8% higher, and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.2% lower. Meanwhile, UK’s FTSE 100 gained 0.1%, and Germany’s DAX index fell 0.6% in Europe’s early afternoon session.