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U.S. Job Growth Falls Short Of Estimates In December

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After reporting a substantial increase in U.S. employment in the previous month, the Labor Department released a report on Friday showing the pace of job growth slowed by more than expected in the month of December.

The report said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 145,000 jobs in December after spiking by a revised 256,000 in November.

Economists had expected employment to increase by about 164,000 jobs compared to the jump of 266,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The Labor Department said notable job gains occurred in the retail trade and healthcare sectors, while mining lost jobs.

Meanwhile, the report said the unemployment rate came in at 3.5 percent in December, unchanged from the previous month and in line with economist estimates.

Average hourly employee earnings edged up by just 0.1 percent in December, with the annual growth rate dropping back to 2.9 percent from 3.1 percent

"The potentially worse news is that we know there will be big downward revisions to past months' payroll gains as part of the benchmark revisions, due to be released in the January Employment Report," said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics,

He added, "But with much of the recent survey evidence suggesting that the underlying pace of hiring is bouncing back, and jobless claims low, the improvement in the pace of payroll gains over the past six months or so is unlikely to be revised away entirely."

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