US adds solid 145K jobs in December, unemployment remains at 50-year low

The figures fell short of the 160,000 new jobs that was predicted by economists.

The U.S. economy added a solid 145,000 new jobs in December and the unemployment rate remained at a 50-year low, according to data released Friday by the Department of Labor Statistics.

While the jobs continued a trend of growth despite trade tensions and other threats, it did fall short of the 160,000 new jobs predicted by economists for December.

The unemployment rate, however, remained at 3.5% percent.

Some notable job gains were in retail (which saw a rise of 41,000 jobs), leisure and hospitality (an increase of 40,000 jobs) and health care (with 28,000 jobs added).

The health care industry added a whopping 399,000 jobs in 2019, showing notable gains for a second year in a row after adding 350,000 in 2018.

Average hourly earnings in December saw a slight increase (3 cents) to bring it to $28.32. Hourly wages have increased by 2.9% over the past year, missing the expected target of 3.1%, and marking the first time since July 2018 that wage gains have fallen below 3% year-over-year.

Meanwhile, mining jobs fell by 8,000 in December. Overall in 2019, mining jobs have declined by 24,000 -- a significant drop following a rise of 63,000 jobs in 2018.