U.S. jobs data was poorer than many analysts had been expecting, with a gain of 156,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate rising to 4.7%, representing a 0.1% increase from November 2016.
However, U.S. unemployment spent 2016 at record lows, with the highest figure posted apparent in March and April, when jobless figures rose to 5%. Despite such a rise the jobless rate maintained the trajectory of steady, slow decline, with a continual drop into the 4.6% and 4.7% territory apparent – adding 2.2 million more jobs over the course of the year.
Despite such a figure being the smallest yearly gain in jobs since 2011, the general trend remained one of economic recovery.
The most significant reductions in joblessness were apparent in the concluding months of 2016, with rates in October and November posting continued declines of 4.8% and 4.6%, respectively.
Although joblessness rose slightly in December, the economy remains in a state considerably healthier than that inherited by the Obama administration subsequent to the financial crisis. An economy in which unemployment peaked at 10% in October of 2009.
With a continued trajectory of steady decline in regard to U.S. joblessness, the prospects of a Fed increase in interest rates looks increasingly likely, despite the slight rise in December’s readings. However, the Reserve is still anxious to fully consider the direction of economic manoeuvring to be assumed by the impending Trump Administration; a move of which has been described as generating ‘considerable uncertainty’ amongst Fed decision-makers, as they weigh up present economic prospects with the direction of the economy once the new administration begins implementing policies.
Whilst the economic policies of President-Elect Donald Trump remain somewhat nebulous, a plan of significant stimulus and the assumption of an isolationist stance on manufacturing is predicted amongst many analysts – a consideration of which aided in pushing the Dow Jones index with 15 points of the coveted 20,000 mark in final trading weeks of 2016.