Those hoping to see the U.S. job market end 2017 on an encouraging note are going to be disappointed.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the economy added 148,000 jobs in December, which is down a fair amount from the previous two months, and falls short of expectations. That said, the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%, which is very low.
The revisions from the previous two months were mixed, with October's totals revised down and November's totals revised up. Combined, they pointed to a net loss of 9,000 jobs, which adds to the discouraging nature of today's report.
Providing some additional context, now that we have data for all of the previous calendar year, we can note that the U.S. added 2.09 million jobs in 2011, 2.14 million jobs in 2012, 2.3 million in 2013, 2.99 million in 2014, 2.71 million in 2015, 2.24 million in 2016, and 2.05 million in 2017.*
Or put another way, while Donald Trump's first year as president has been pretty good overall for job creation, Americans nevertheless saw the slowest job growth in six years. (Note, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will revise the 2017 data once more, making the available figures preliminary.)
Above you'll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly changes in total jobs since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction: red columns point to monthly changes under the Bush and Trump administrations, while blue columns point to monthly job changes under the Obama administration.