"This jobs report will signal to the Federal Reserve that continued monetary tightening is appropriate, and that the USA labor market remains a bright spot in an otherwise troubled economic environment". And they surged even more after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated the central bank was in no hurry to raise interest rates further.
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Hiring has been unusually strong as the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.7 percent - a 49-year low - from 4.1 percent at the start of 2018.
Wage growth also picked up. Average hourly earnings are expected to have climbed 3 percent from a year ago, up from a year-over-year gain of 2.7 percent at the end of 2017. This matches October, which posted the largest 12-month growth in nominal average hourly earnings since April 2009.
Several sectors saw a pickup in hiring.
Job gains were widespread, with construction, manufacturing, health care and leisure and hospitality all posting gains of more than 30,000 jobs.
Job growth last month, at 312,000 new jobs, was higher than in 93% of other months during this job creation streak.
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Canada hit a weak spot in total jobs creation from 2013 through 2015 but has since been mostly tracking the US path higher.
"It appears that higher wages are the reason why people are returning to the active labor force in large numbers", Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist, Capital Economics, told CNN.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said China's growth was hurt by "rising trade tensions with the United States".
Manufacturing combined with a surging oil and gas sector and steady growth in construction jobs to produce what looks to be the best year for blue-collar, goods-producing jobs since 2014. "That's a deal we'll take if more people are participating in the workforce". "And then, of course, that affects the whole world".
The monthly average upturn in total Canadian jobs in 2018 was an uninspiring +14,000, a pullback of almost two-thirds versus 2017's comparable figure of +36,000.
In the US, consumers did not hold back this holiday season, with sales up 5.1 percent over previous year, according to a Mastercard report. The continued hiring boom also suggests that fears of a looming economic recession are largely overblown.
The U.S. manufacturing sector also managed a big addition to payrolls in the latest month, +32,000 jobs. The ISM manufacturing index fell 5.2 percentage points in December and an index measuring new orders tumbled 11 percentage points. Job totals could be lowered by hundreds of thousands of government employees being temporarily put out of work.
Depending on how long it lasts, the shutdown "could be a big negative" in next month's jobsreport, which will reflect January employment, Kevin Hassett, a top economic adviser to President Trump, said Thursday. "We expected a strong payroll number after the distortions of recent months due to two hurricanes, the California fires and the very cold November survey week, but this is spectacular", said economist Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.