The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday the U.S. added 223,000 jobs in December while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent.
In its monthly report, the bureau said notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care, construction, and social assistance. The report said the unemployment rate has remained in a narrow range of 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent since March.
The report shows modest gains in wages during December, rising by just 0.3 percent, Over the past 12 months, wages rose by an average of 4.6 percent. The slowing of wage growth is good news because the U.S. Federal Reserve uses it as a barometer for inflation and has been raising interest rates to slow both job and wage growth.
A slowing of the economy could mean fewer and smaller interest rate increases in the coming months.
U.S. stock markets reacted positively to the news. Dow futures were up more than 100 points following the jobs release.
In the report, the bureau also announced that total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down by 21,000, from 284,000 to 263,000 new jobs and the change for November was revised down by 7,000, from 263,000 to 256,000 new jobs.
With those revisions, combined employment gains in October and November were
28,000 lower than previously reported.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press and Reuters.