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December Hiring Robust, Wages Increase, Yet Unemployment Rises

The U.S. economy expanded by 312,000 jobs in December, though the unemployment rate inched up to 3.9%, its highest level since July. The latest Labor Department numbers showed an annual 3.2% boost in wages, following nearly a decade of lukewarm growth.

All told, 2018 was the best year for job creation since 2015. The numbers included an expansion of 2.6 million jobs and a labor participation rate that increased to 63.1% in December, up from 62.9% in November.

Employment in healthcare rose by 50,000 in December. Employment in food services and drinking places increased by 41,000 in December. Over the year, the industry added 235,000 jobs, similar to the increase in 2017 (+261,000).

Construction employment rose by 38,000 in December, with job gains in heavy and civil engineering construction (+16,000) and nonresidential specialty trade construction (+16,000). The construction industry added 280,000 jobs in 2018, compared with an increase of 250,000 in 2017.

Manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in December. Manufacturing employment increased by 284,000 over the year, with about three-fourths of the gain in durable goods industries. Manufacturing had added 207,000 jobs in 2017.

Economists predict the pace of overall hiring will slow in 2019.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics amended reports for the previous two months. November’s figure was revised up to a net increase of 176,000 jobs from 155,000, while October’s gains grew to 274,000 from 237,000.


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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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