The U.S. jobs market ended 2022 on a high note, adding another 223,000 jobs in December, the department of labor reported January 6. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%, back to its pre-pandemic low.

The Guardian reports that the continued strength of the jobs market comes as the Federal Reserve has struggled to cool hiring and bring down inflation by raising interest rates at a pace unseen in a generation.

The annual rate of inflation is still running well ahead of wage gains, but the Fed has argued that a tight labor market has led to inflation-fueling income gains. So far the Fed’s hikes have done little to cool the jobs market.
Jobs growth has slowed – the U.S. added an average of 539,000 new positions per month in the first three months of 2022 – but over the year the economy added 4.5m jobs, the second-strongest year on record.

The government jobs report comes a day after ADP, the U.S.’s largest payroll supplier, announced private employers had added 235,000 for the month, well ahead of the 153,000 Dow Jones estimate and the 127,000 initially reported for November.