Strong U.S. Job and Wage Growth Provides Assurance on Economy

U.S. employers added jobs at a robust pace in December and wages posted their biggest full-year gain of the expansion, providing a strong new counterpoint to recent worries in financial markets that the economy is sputtering because of trade frictions and rising interest rates.

Stock prices rose on the economic news, then jumped even higher after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed would be patient about further increases in rates this year.

Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 312,000 in December, the Labor Department said Friday, the biggest increase since February. U.S. payrolls have grown for 99 straight months, by far the longest stretch of steady hiring on record. After upward revisions to October and November data, the U.S. added a net 2.64 million payrolls in 2018, the best year for job growth since 2015.

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