Jobs Disappoint In Obama's Final Month, Rise Only 156K, But Average Hourly Earnings Jump

Tyler Durden's picture

With Wall Street expecting a 178K payrolls print for president Obama's final full monthly December jobs report, the headline December nonfarm payrolls increase of just 156K is likely to disappoint. However, the poor December number will likely be offset by a revision to the November print from 178K to 204K, even as October was revised downward from 142K to 135K, for a net revision of the past two months to 19K higher.

For all of 2016, job growth totaled 2.2 million for the year, less than the increase of 2.7 million in 2015.

The unemployment rate printed at 4.7% as predicted, fractionally higher from last month's 4.6%.

However, the big silver lining in today's jobs report, and what Wall Street will likely mostly focus on, is the jump in average hourly earnings, which rose 0.4% in December, up from the disappointing November -0.1% decline, and ahead of the 0.3% expected by consensus. It was also the best print since 2009. On an annual basis, the increase was 2.9%, also on of the highest gains since the crisis, strengthening the case for the Fed to hike on multiple occasions in 2017.

On the other hand, average weekly earnings continued their muted performance, rising 2.3% Y/Y in December.

Some more details from the report:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December, with an increase in health care and social assistance. Job growth totaled 2.2 million in 2016, less than the increase of 2.7 million in 2015.


Employment in health care rose by 43,000 in December, with most of the increase occurring in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+11,000). Health care added an average of 35,000 jobs per month in 2016, roughly in line with the average monthly gain of 39,000 in 2015.


Social assistance added 20,000 jobs in December, reflecting job growth in individual and family services (+21,000). In 2016, social assistance added 92,000 jobs, down from an increase of 162,000 in 2015.


Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in December (+30,000). This industry added 247,000 jobs in 2016, fewer than the 359,000 jobs gained in 2015.


Employment also continued to trend up in transportation and warehousing in December (+15,000). Within the industry, employment expanded by 12,000 in couriers and messengers. In 2016, transportation and warehousing added 62,000 jobs, down from a gain of 110,000 jobs in 2015.


Employment in financial activities continued on an upward trend in December (+13,000). This is in line with the average monthly gains for the industry over the past 2 years.


In December, employment edged up in manufacturing (+17,000), with a gain of 15,000 in the durable goods component. However, since reaching a recent peak in January, manufacturing employment has declined by 63,000.


Employment in professional and business services was little changed in December (+15,000), following an increase of 65,000 in November. The industry added 522,000 jobs in 2016.


Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and government, changed little in December.


The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.3 hours in December. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, and overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained at 33.6 hours.  


In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 10 cents to $26.00, after edging down by 2 cents in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.9 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $21.80.


The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down from +142,000 to +135,000, and the change for November was revised up from +178,000 to +204,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November were 19,000 higher than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 165,000 per month.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
SallySnyd's picture

Here is an article that explains the main reason why the U.S. employment picture is far less healthy than the U-3 unemployment statistics suggest:


This factor will have long-term negative ramifications for the economy and for American workers.

Shocker's picture

Still a long ways to go.. but we are now on the right path


Full Layoff / Closing List:


MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

And that rounds it off, folks!! ANOTHER POSITIVE NFP FOR OBAMA!!! WOW, JUST WOW!!!!! Obama truly is hands down, THE BEST ECONOMIC PRESIDENT IN US HISTORY!!!! HANDS DOWN!!!!!!


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Good enough to close the door on Obama. Bye!

DavidC's picture

Spot on CD!

Happy new year to you.


DavidC's picture

And the first thing the indices pop UP a bit!



Cursive's picture

It's a Godilocks report. Hiring is steady (even if pre-Obama 200k was only enough to keep pace) and earnings are up!  Yellen and Obama be praised!

Cursive's picture

Is this the cover the Fed needs to pause the "hike cycle?"

Oldwood's picture

Those with jobs will see some potential wage increase but every 1% wage increase will result in a 2% job loss. Automation accelerates.

Racer's picture

More fake numbers that the "markets" will see as good news to justify going higher

TheVoicesInYourHead's picture


Brought to you by Ol'Yellen and Obummer.

DavidC's picture

Stagflation - where central banks try to fight deflation because the only way to service debt is with inflation, and because the governments and central banks continue to push the myth that 'growth' and 'inflation' are good.

I was watching a TV programme the other night based in Canada where some pine cones can remain dormant and closed for up to 20 years - the cones ONLY open and release their seed when they are subjected to heat and fire. In other words the cleansing of fire is NECESSARY and REQUIRED in order for new growth to occur. Shame the central bankers don't have the same awareness.


new game's picture

zakly! and it will be the crisses trump faces. fed must hike and but fast or this thingy spirals to shutdown. but then again, the econ shuts down under the weight of high prices. truely cornered, cept qe 4 bond buying frenzy to da balance stmnt.  jmfo.

headfake's picture

FFS! none of it means jack shit anymore, markets will go up regardless of data. 

DavidC's picture

You're probably not far off the mark there headfake!


allamerican's picture

what happened to pe expansion and reflation, need new narrative.  maybe circle back to stimulus.  yea, thats it.  moar failed stimulus..  clowns.

headfake's picture

The only good thing the data is for is to give the $600,000 a year talking heads on CNBC something to talk about

jamesmmu's picture

Wallst want inflation, this report delivered it. 


hourly rate up. 

however hours down - but wallst donest care.


so bid it up

DavidC's picture

I didn't down vote you but I hope not 21,000. If it does get there the CBs are even further down the rabbit hole.


Being Free's picture

Thats one deep hole too.  Guess I should have included the sarc tag.

Cassandra.Hermes's picture

Let's hope Trump outperform Obama or at least match him!


Ronald Reagan R 1981–1985 91,037 96,373 + 5,336 +1.47% Ronald Reagan R 1985–1989 96,373 107,168 +10,795 +2.80% George H. W. Bush R 1989–1993 107,168 109,805 + 1,917 +0.45% Bill Clinton D 1993–1997 109,805 121,381 +12,296 +2.85% Bill Clinton D 1997–2001 121,381 132,705 +11,324 +2.33% George W. Bush R 2001–2005 132,705 132,794 + 89 +0.02% George W. Bush R 2005–2009 132,794 134,053 + 1,259 +0.24% Barack Obama D 2009–2013 134,053 135,266 + 1,213 +0.23% Barack Obama D 2013–2016 135,266 145,303
Goldbugger's picture

Obama and the labor department statistics did a wonderfull job lying about the state of unemployed.

Skiprrrdog's picture

Breaking News

In a stunning revelation  Jimmy Carter, the ex-president said that, "Thanks to Barry Obarky, I can die now". Carter went on to reveal that the knowledge that he was, *the worst president ever* kept him from dying for the past ten years. "I never paid much attention to that Obarky feller; back home we just used them in the fields, so they were mostly invisible" , said Carter. So now that it is painfully obvious, even to aliens in galaxies far, far away, that Barry Obarky is the new worst president ever, Carter breathes a sigh of relief. " I am Obarkys number one fan! Boy, you can come work my fields anytime!"

Film at Eleven

StreetObserver's picture

You can still cast your votes and discredit the Obamanation in while he and his pack remain in office.

Stop buying anything non-essential, except for cash, from Mom and Pop stores, until February.

Boycott the rest of the Obamaconomy. That is hold off on spending anything on non-essentials until Trump's first full month in office, February.

That way the consumer economy collapses at the end of the Obamanation and then surges to life in Trump's triumph. Can't wait to hear Krugman's explanation of that.

jcdenton's picture

Easy for me to boycott ..




Been, pretty much so (in relative earning power percentages) ..


Since ................... 2002


When I lost my REAL job, my house, my truck, my boat, my raw land, my purple spottted goldfish ..