US jobs smash expectations again as non-farm payroll leaps

Emma Haslett
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It's the second month in a row US job growth has surprised economists (Source: Getty)

The US economy added 292,000 jobs in December, smashing expectations of a 200,000 rise - and proving employers were unperturbed by the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates.

The figure was a rise on November's 252,000 (which itself was way above expectations), although slightly lower than the 307,000 in October.

Meanwhile, wages grew 2.5 per cent on the year before - up from 2.3 per cent in November.

The closely-watched figure was even more relevant than usual this month, after the US Fed decided to hike interest rates for the first time in nine years in December, raising the federal funds rate to 0.5 per cent. There had been concerns employers would react by cutting jobs, but today's figures provided an encouraging sign of things to come.

“It’s far too soon to know definitively if Fed Chair Janet Yellen and co made the right decision in raising interest rates last month," said Dennis de Jong, managing director at

"However, [the] well above expected non-farm payroll figures will confirm her assessment that the world’s biggest economy is in rude health."

The news caused the dollar to spike: in early afternoon trading it rose 1.03 per cent against the euro to €0.9242 and 0.65 per cent against the yen, to ¥118.44.

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