December jobs report shows a needed slowing, says Utah economist

Jan 6, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: 3:37 pm
December jobs reports shows a needed slowing, says Utah economist....
The latest jobs report from the Labor Department finds U.S. businesses added 263,000 employees in September. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The December jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that unemployment in the U.S. dropped to 3.5%. Furthermore, it shows businesses added 223,000 jobs in December.

CNN reported that the job gains were higher than economists expected. That, combined with a month-to-month increase of 0.3% in wage growth, could have been a cause for concern (regarding inflation) Senior Economist for Zions Bank, Robert Spendlove told KSL NewsRadio.

“The unemployment rate dropped down to 3.5%, the thing that makes us nervous about that is, often, low unemployment can drive wages higher,” Spendlove said.

However, Spendlove explains it’s a good sign. 

“But we saw the wage growth actually slowed too. It’s a good sign that we are having the slowing we need, and we’re not seeing overheating or it slowing too much.”

The report showed nearly 4.5 million jobs were added in 2022. Also, that “notable job gains” were recorded in leisure/hospitality, health care, construction and social assistance.

That said, Spendlove said that some business sectors are struggling.

“The tech sector, real estate, those areas that are tied to interest rates really closely are seeing the impact,” he said. 

In November, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Kem C. Gardner policy institute signaled that Utah businesses should expect a slowing economy in 2023.

They cited declining home prices and low consumer confidence.

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December jobs report shows a needed slowing, says Utah economist