There was a lot to like about the December nonfarm payrolls report—except, of course, for those who were making less money at the end of the month than they were at the start.
Easily the most jarring aspect from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' numbers was the drop in hourly earnings. The 5-cent decline brought the average annual increase down to a mere 1.7 percent, indications that while the job market overall may be continuing to improve, the underlying fundamentals still need some work.
Average hourly earnings dropped from $24.62 an hour to $24.57 in December, with the typical paycheck off $1.73 to $850.12, according to BLS data released Friday.
The headline numbers of a 5.6 percent unemployment rate and 252,000 new jobs, while positive enough on their face, didn't tell the whole story of a labor market that still is struggling in some aspects.