Unemployment in the US fell surprisingly at the end of last year and has reached its lowest level in almost three years. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in December, the US Department of Labor announced in Washington on Friday. This is the lowest unemployment rate since February 2020, before the Corona crisis triggered a significant increase in unemployment.
Economists were surprised by the development. They had expected an average unemployment rate of 3.7 percent. According to the department, 5.722 million Americans were unemployed in December, up from 6.0 million a month earlier.
Wages rose less than expected
Inversely, the number of jobs increased. Outside of agriculture, 223,000 jobs have been added, the ministry said. On average, analysts had only expected 203,000 new jobs. However, the increase in employment in the two previous months was revised downwards by a total of 28,000 jobs.
Wages rose less than expected in December. Average hourly wages increased by 0.3 percent month-on-month. Economists had expected an average increase of 0.4 percent. In addition, the increase in November was revised downwards from 0.6 to 0.4 percent.
US President: "Good news"
Compared to the same month last year, hourly wages in December increased by 4.6 percent. An increase of 5.0 percent had been expected here. Many US companies have been complaining about a labor shortage for a long time, which is why wages are rising noticeably. The increase lags behind the even higher inflation rate.
US President Joe Biden called the new figures "good news". "We still have work to do to bring down inflation and help American families suffering from cost-of-living pressures. But we're moving in the right direction," Biden said.