The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, below expectations but the figure caps off the seventh straight year of annual employment growth above 2 million a streak for the first time since the web boom of the 1990s.
The unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent, the lowest level since December 2000 when it was 3.9 percent, as the economy maintained steady growth through a series of major hurricanes late in the summer, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
Employment rose 2.05 million last year, a pace that was slower than 2016 during President Obama’s final year in office.
But in 2018, jobs and economic growth are expected to ride the rising tide behind a sweeping Republican tax package.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE has taken credit for economy he inherited from Obama, touting the stock market’s record levels – the Dow Jones hit 25,000 on Thursday – along with strong consumer confidence and the steady jobs growth since he was elected in November 2016.
The economy is expected to keep adding jobs this year and the unemployment rate is on track to fall to unprecedented levels, around 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, economic growth is forecast to feed off the effects of the new tax law and increase to about 2.9 percent for the year.
The economy hasn’t lost jobs in any month since October 2010 although there was a close call in September when the initial report showed the first loss of jobs in seven years but was eventually revised up into positive territory, keeping the streak alive.
Employers kept up a steady pace of hiring In September the labor market had initially shown the first loss of jobs in seven years but later revisions kept the streak alive.