First American News LLC, Raleigh, NC: Hiring slowed in December in a sign the economic recovery was moderating ahead of disruptions from the Omicron variant of Covid-19, though declining unemployment and robust wage growth indicate employers are poised to steadily add jobs this year.
Employers added 199,000 jobs in December, cooling from 249,000 new payrolls in November and 648,000 in October, the Labor Department said Friday. Last month’s payroll gains left the U.S. economy with about 6.4 million more jobs than at the end of 2020—more than in any year on record—but the nation remains 3.6 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels.
The labor market, while still recovering from the pandemic, is entering the year on a much stronger footing than it did in 2021. In recent months, job openings surged to historically high levels and workers quit their jobs at record rates. Retailers and manufacturers are close to fully recovering losses from early in the pandemic. Leisure and hospitality employers, which were hit particularly hard, have made strides since last January but are still 7% below pre-pandemic payrolls levels. Click here to continue reading on the job market growth at The Wall Street Journal