The US has added fewer jobs lately than expected by labor market experts, fresh government figures have shown. The overall unemployment rate held steady at a 17-year low in the world's largest economy.
The US economy's job creation ability decreased in December 2017 despite solid hiring in the manufacturing and construction sectors, government data showed Friday.
While the unemployment rate remained unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, employers across the nation added just 148,000 jobs in the final month of last year.
The figure was far below expectations of 200,000 new positions and even below the sluggish 155,000 jobs reported in December 2016.
How much more is possible?
Economists had been more optimistic especially after payroll services firm ADP said Thursday that private hiring experienced a boost in the final four weeks of December 2017.
But the slowing reported by the government could point to an economy nearly at full employment that is finding it hard to get workers to fill open positions. That's a sentiment that had been reflected in reports from companies lately.
Many firms said they had to raise wages to attract more workers. While the manufacturing, building and health care sectors did fairly well in December in terms of job creation, retail employment fell by 20,000.
hg/jd (AFP, dpa)