The U.S. created 216,000 new jobs in December, more than had been expected by Wall Street, and wages in the 12 months ended December 31 grew by a healthy 4.1%.
The news reinforced months of data indicating economic fundamentals are growing at a healthy pace but not so fast that it would reignite inflation.
Employees experienced a 4.1% increase in average hourly earnings in 2023 compared to the 2023 inflation rate — as measured by the personal consumption expenditure deflator — of 2.6%. Thus, employee wages rose by a real after-inflation rate of 1.5%. An increase in consumer buying power in real terms shows the progress in the financial-economic situation of the nation last year.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index closed Friday at 4697.24, up +0.18% from Thursday, and down -1.52% from a week ago — snapping a streak of nine weeks of rising prices. The index is up +109.94% from the March 23, 2020 bear market low and -2.07% lower than its January 3, 2022, all-time high.
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