The United States added more jobs in December 2019, marking the longest stretch of annual increases in 80 years of data. But with lower employment in comparison to 2018, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the latest job report “caps a year of growing uncertainty” in U.S. economy.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Friday, Jan. 10, that U.S. nonfarm payroll employment rose 145,000 in December, bringing the total number of 2019 to 2.1 million.
Though the number of jobs added last year was down from a gain of 2.7 million in 2018, U.S. employers still added positions for a record 10th straight year, The Wall Street Journal said.
The bureau said the number of unemployed persons fell to 5.8 million in December 2019 from 6.3 million a year earlier.
The unemployment rate was also down to 3.5% in December from 3.9% at the end of 2018.
The labor force participation rate was at 63.2% in December, and the employment-population ratio at 61.0%, up 0.4 percentage point over the year.
In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $28.32. Over the last 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9%.
In a statement following the December jobs report, Pelosi said it “caps a year of growing uncertainty in our economy, rising desperation in farm country and surging costs of living for hardworking families.”
“Now, 2020 has begun with even more price hikes for hundreds of lifesaving medicines, adding to the already crushing burden of prescription drug costs that weighs on so many families,” she said.
The House speaker said though House Democrats last month passed the Lower Drug Costs Now Act to finally negotiate lower drug prices for American people, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to bring the bill to a vote.
“Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues its all-out assault on health care in the courts to rip away protections for people with pre-existing conditions, end the ban on lifetime limits on care, and destroy the health and financial security of tens of millions of American families,” she continued.
“House Democrats will continue our work For The People, delivering legislation to lower health costs and prescription drug prices, raise wages by rebuilding America’s infrastructure in resilient, job-creating ways and clean up corruption in Washington,” Pelosi added.