U.S. job growth for the month of December soared past expectations, adding 312,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs.
The jobless rate, which was last higher in June, rose for the right reason as 419,000 new workers entered the workforce and the labor force participation rate increased to 63.1 percent. The participation level was up 0.2 percentage points from November and 0.4 percentage points compared with a year earlier.
Wages also jumped 3.2 percent from 2017 and .4 percent over November.
Just 176,000 jobs were expected for December and wages were expected to rise by 3 percent.
Payroll growth for 2018 stood at 2.6 million, the highest since 2015, and the health care industry added over 50,000 new jobs for the month.
Chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, Paul Ashworth, told CNBC, the job report “suggests the US economy still has considerable forward momentum.”
“The far bigger than expected 312,000 jump in non-farm payrolls in December would seem to make a mockery of market fears of an impending recession,” he said.