The US economy closed 2014 in style, creating over 252,000 jobs in the final month of the year. The job totals for October and November were also revised up by 50,000. The unemployment rate fell from 5.8% to 5.6%, the lowest in six years. All in all, 2014 was the best year for job creation since 1999.
The growth in the US economy comes despite an economic slowdown across much of the world. Europe is seeing sluggish growth, Japan is in a recession, Russia is having a meltdown due to sanctions and low oil prices, and even China is struggling to manage their so called “soft landing” as they transition their economy to more sustainable growth. On the global stage, the US appears to be in the best shape.
Economists expect 2015 to be another good year for the economy. Low gas prices will put lots of additional cash into consumers hands. The US is a consumer based economy, so this additional cash will be of tremendous value.
The report was not all good. Wage growth remains a problem, as productivity gains are still not resulting in pay gains for workers. Hourly page slipped 5 cents in December. Wage growth has long been a problem for the US, as average hourly wages have been relatively stagnant over the past 30+ years.