Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP Economist Michael Madowitz on the December 2015 Jobs Report
Press Release

STATEMENT: CAP Economist Michael Madowitz on the December 2015 Jobs Report

Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the December 2015 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS.

December’s employment growth is excellent news. The economy added an impressive 292,000 jobs, and most importantly for the long term, the labor-force participation rate increased, keeping the unemployment rate at 5 percent. That is great news for 2016: The impressive run of employment gains at the end of 2015 shows an economy firing on all cylinders, and the uptick in labor-force participation shows plenty of clear road ahead for more growth.

The top-line numbers were impressive, though we are still not entirely in the clear. For the millions of Americans still waiting for a raise, 2015 closed on a down note, with earnings actually falling slightly. These are some confusing tea leaves for the Federal Reserve, as the uptick in employment over the past three months normally suggests that the rate hikes some have been signaling are appropriate. But the lack of change in the broad U-6 measure of unemployment and continued slow wage growth suggest that we are far from seeing inflation risk tick up.

We will be watching the next few reports closely to see which of these trends dominate, but the labor market is starting 2016 on a positive note. Millions of Americans got back to work in 2015, and it looks like that trend is set to continue. Hopefully with more gains like these, the economy will see continued increases in labor-force participation and an uptick in wage growth become the new trend.

Related resource: The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-January 2016 Jobs Release by Michael Madowitz, Shiv Rawal, and Danielle Corley

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at [email protected] or 202.478.6331.

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