The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, down over 100,000 jobs from November and well below expectations, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
December’s figure marked the seventh consecutive year of annual employment growth above 2 million, the longest streak since the internet boom of the 1990s.
The unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent for the third straight month.
The total number of jobs added in President Trump’s first year in office climbed to 2.05 million, a pace that was slower than 2016 during President Obama’s final year in office, and the slowest since the labor market’s recovery began in 2010.
Stuart Hoffman, PNC senior economic adviser, said his group is forecasting a slowdown to about 140,000 jobs a month in 2018, “more due to a lack of qualified workers rather than softer demand for qualified employees.”
“However, migration from Puerto Rico to the mainland in the aftermath of Maria could help alleviate hiring shortages and support job growth,” Hoffman said.