US employers added the most workers in 10 months as wage gains accelerated and labor-force participation jumped, reflecting a robust job market that nevertheless faces mounting risks in 2019.
Non-farm payrolls increased by 312,000 in December, easily topping all forecasts, after an upwardly revised 176,000 gain the prior month, a Labor Department report showed on Friday.
Average hourly earnings rose 3.2% from a year earlier, more than projected and matching the fastest pace since 2009. Meanwhile, the jobless rate rose from a five-decade low to 3.9%, reflecting more people actively seeking work.
The dollar surged, US stock futures remained higher and Treasuries tumbled following the report. Hiring and wage gains will support consumer spending and offer some respite after a spate of weak economic data and cuts in corporate revenue forecasts fueled stock-market jitters. Still, it may be hard to replicate such labor-market strength in 2019 amid the US-China tariff war, softening manufacturing, a housing slowdown and a projected cooling in global growth.