WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers downshifted their hiring in December, adding 145,000 jobs as consumer spending appeared to aid gains in the retail and hospitality sectors.
The Labor Department says the unemployment rate held at 3.5% for the second straight month, prolonging a half-century low. Hiring slipped after robust gains of 256,000 in November caused in part by the end of a strike at General Motors.
Still, the job growth has failed so far to put upward pressure on hourly pay. The pace of annual average wage growth slowed in December to 2.9% from 3.1% in the prior month, a possible sign that there is still room for additional job gains despite the decade-plus expansion.
The U.S. economy added 2.1 million jobs last year, down from gains of nearly 2.7 million in 2018.