The pace of hiring slowed in December, but the U.S. unemployment rate held at a 17-year low, suggesting it is becoming more difficult for employers to find workers.
Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 148,000 in December, the Labor Department said. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%, matching the lowest level since December 2000 for the third straight month. Hourly wages improved modestly and rose 2.5% from a year earlier. Economists expected 180,000 new jobs and a 4.1% unemployment rate.
The Trump administration wants to open up nearly all the country’s offshore areas for oil drilling, leasing areas off places like Florida and California for the first time in decades, and reversing an Obama-era policy.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced Thursday that his department is planning the largest number of oil-lease sales in U.S. history starting next year. It would open up 90% of offshore land for drilling as part of a five-year plan. It reverses an Obama-era plan that would have kept only 6% of the same acres available for drilling.
Freezing temperatures in the U.S. Northeast have pushed up heating costs, creating serious stress for many Americans. Although the rich world’s energy poor are largely forgotten in discussions about climate policies, they bear an unfair burden for well-meaning proposals.
That reality is being laid bare this icy winter as energy and electricity prices surge. When we think about energy poverty, we imagine a lack of light in the world’s worst-off nations, where more than one billion people still lack electricity.
In U.S. cities with the tightest labor markets, workers are finding something that’s long been missing from the broader economic expansion: faster-growing paychecks. Workers in metro areas with the lowest unemployment are experiencing among the strongest wage growth in the country. The labor market in places like Minneapolis, Denver and Fort Myers, Fla., where unemployment rates stand near or even below 3%, has now tightened to a point where businesses are raising pay to attract employees, often from competitors.
Though the labor market has grown robustly nationwide this year, progress has been uneven across blue states and red states. An increasing number of people in red states have stopped looking for work, while a larger share of people in blue states are actively in the workforce.