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US jobless rate climbs to 3.9 pct.

The chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett, talks to reporters outside the White House in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 3. EFE-EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

The chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett, talks to reporters outside the White House in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 3. EFE-EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

EFE

Unemployment in the United States climbed 0.2 percent last month to 3.9 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.

The US economy created 312,000 new jobs in December, far exceeding analysts’ forecast of 182,000. It was the 98th consecutive month of net job growth, extending the longest streak on record.

December’s figures bring to 2.64 million the total number of new jobs created in 2018, the most since 2015.

The unemployment rate crept up from November’s 3.7 percent - the lowest in 49 years - mostly because more people entered the job market.

A key highlight of the jobs report was average hourly wages for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, which rose 0.4 percent to $27.48 in December from November, the report said.

Average hourly wages grew 3.2 percent year-on-year, marking the second straight 12-month period with an increase of more than 3 percent, and compensation is expected to continue its rise amid a robust labor market.

The Labor Department’s broader U6 measure of unemployment, which includes people working part-time who would prefer full-time and workers who have given up looking for a job, held steady last month at 7.6 percent.

Labor force participation, which peaked at 67.1 percent in 2000, advanced 0.2 percent in December to 63.1 percent.


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