The U.S. labor market was undeniably strong in 2019, marking its 10th straight year of job gains. That doesn’t mean there aren’t cracks beneath the surface.
U.S. employers hired a solid 145,000 workers in December and unemployment remained at a half-century low, at 3.5%, data released Friday by the Labor Department showed. While hiring slowed from November’s robust pace, economists by and large expect job gains for the foreseeable future, even if they moderate from an average of 174,000 a month over 2019.
It’s a lonely endeavor to argue that the job market isn’t quite as rosy as it seems at a time when analysts and investors are celebrating record job creation. Things have clearly gotten a lot better since the dark days of the financial crisis and recession. But lost in the headlines and historical sweep is the reality that for many Americans, this job market isn’t as strong as it looks.