Labor markets surged in December as the economy continued to show steady job growth. U.S. payrolls rose 315,000 last month and increased at a monthly average of 274,000 jobs during the fourth quarter. For 1999, payroll growth averaged 224,000 jobs per month, slightly less than 1998’s monthly average of 244,000. The employment-to-population ratio increased one-tenth of a percent to 64.4%, matching its January peak. The unemployment rate held its 30-year low of 4.1% last month; it has been 4.3% or lower since March. December wage growth was strong, with average hourly earnings rising 6 cents to $13.46. For the year, average hourly earnings climbed 3.7%.
Suggested citation: "Labor Markets," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 00-01, pp. 11, 01.01.2000.