Economists Start Year With Biggest Jobs Underestimate Since '16

(Bloomberg) -- In the words of baseball announcer Bob Uecker, economists’ estimates for today’s job report were “just a bit outside.”

They had predicted that U.S. nonfarm payrolls in December would rise by 184,000. Instead, jobs increased by 312,000 in December, topping the median and average forecasts by 70 percent. That’s the widest margin to the upside of the median since July of 2016.

Economists Start Year With Biggest Jobs Underestimate Since '16

It was the most workers added in 10 months and brought the gain in 2018 payrolls to 2.64 million, up from 2.19 million in 2017. Average hourly earnings rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier, more than projected and matching the fastest pace since 2009.

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