The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate plunged to 3.5 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.
Economists had expected the economy to add 200,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 3.7 percent. The range of forecasts by economists surveyed by Econoday was between a gain on payrolls of 150,000 to 230,000. On unemployment, the range of forecasts was 3.7 percent to 3.8 percent.
The Labor Department’s Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey, knowns as Jolts, showed that there were 10.5 million job openings at the end of November and October, around 1.7 vacancies for every unemployed person. Federal Reserve officials frequently cite the vacancy ratio as evidence that the labor market is so tight that it risks fueling inflation.