U.S. Adds Better Than Expected 223K Jobs in December, Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.5%

The U.S. added 223,000 jobs in December, reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its monthly Nonfarm Payrolls report. That was down from a revised 256,000 jobs in November (originally reported as 263,000) and topped economist forecasts for 200,000. The unemployment fell 3.5% versus expectations it would hold steady 3.7%.

The price of bitcoin (BTC) was steady at $16,750 in the minutes following the report. Even as the headline 223,000 jobs gained topped expectations, the slowdown trend in employment growth is clear. Monthly job gains in the first half of 2022 were routinely above 300,000, and December's 223,000 is the weakest print since April 2021.

In addition, the closely watched wages details were softer than forecast. Average hourly earnings rose 0.30% in December, down from 0.4% previously and missing expectations for 0.4%. On a year-over-year basis, average hourly earnings rose 4.6%, down from 4.8% previously and missing expectations for 5.0%.

Combined with reports earlier this week showing continued weakness in the manufacturing sector, it may be enough for the U.S. Federal Reserve to begin taking notice that its quick pace of rate hikes in 2022 is clearly having a slowing effect on the economy.