Hicks: Jobs Report Can Ease Recession Worries

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Hicks is the director of Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research. Hicks is the director of Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research.
MUNCIE -

As the stock market continues its rollercoaster ride, a Ball State University economist says the December jobs report will do a lot to ease recession worries. Mike Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State, says in addition to the increase in jobs, wage gains were also strong last month.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the economy added 312,000 jobs in December, with almost the same number of additional workers entering the labor force. Hicks says part of the job gains were especially strong in seasonal sectors such as retail, however manufacturing also added 32,000 jobs.

Hicks adds the economy saw a 3.15 percent increase in wages over the same month in 2017, which is well over the annual rate of inflation.

"Employment is a lagging economic indicator, and December saw significant evidence of a global economic slowdown," Hicks says. "This jobs report will signal to the Federal Reserve that continued monetary tightening is appropriate, and that the U.S. labor market remains a bright spot in an otherwise troubled economic environment."

Hicks says revisions from earlier months also added 58,000 jobs in October and November. The national unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent in December as well.

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