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Employees build components for hybrid electric vehicle motors at the Toshiba International manufacturing facility in Houston, Texas.
Traders actually indicated a higher chance of a March Fed rate hike, pushing the probability from 68 percent before the report’s release to 73 percent a half-hour later.
An alternative measure of unemployment that counts discouraged workers and those working part time for economic reasons edged higher to 8.1 percent. That came amid an unchanged labor force participation rate at 62.7 percent and a steady employment-to-population level of 60.1 percent, tied for the lowest since May.
The household survey, which calls homes to ask how many are at work, rose even less than the establishment survey, with 104,000 more Americans reported on the job.
The report comes amid buoyant expectations for growth overall. GDP rose 3.2 percent in the third quarter and 3.1 percent in the second quarter, and the Atlanta Fed projects the third quarter to register another 3.2 percent gain.
In addition, most retailers reported sharply higher holiday sales. Mastercard estimated growth at 4.9 percent for the 2017 holiday season from the same period a year earlier.
The pace of job growth came on the same month that Congress passed landmark tax legislation that took down the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and lowered rates for many Americans.
No less an authority than Warren Buffett is urging optimism, penning a column for Time magazine that cites the U.S. “game of economic miracles” that is only in its “early innings.”
The jobs report follows a stronger-than-expected reading on private-sector employment. The private sector added 250,000 jobs in December, according to Thursday’s report by ADP and Moody’s Analytics, well above the 190,000 jobs expected by economists polled by Reuters.