On a national level, the United States economy added 312,000 jobs in December, according to the Labor Department. The latest jobs report greatly overshot expectations after a sluggish November which saw 176,000 jobs added. In addition to a jump in added jobs, “wages rose 3.2 percent in the year since December 2017 after nearly a decade of tepid improvements, federal economists reported Friday” according to a Washington Post article.

More good news came as the participation rate among Americans increased from 62.9% to 63.1%. This caused the unemployment rate to increase from 3.6% to 3.9% but worth the growth as more participation in the economy is always welcome.

Small business hiring also saw a year-end surge, “with payroll company ADP counting 89,000 new jobs at its small business customers. That was up from a downwardly revised 38,000 in November, and gave small businesses an average of nearly 42,000 new jobs each month during 2018.”

While hiring was down for both small and large businesses due to a drop in unemployment, “December’s increase was the biggest gain for small businesses in what was an erratic year.”

The question now remains how 2019 will begin as slower growth rates are expected with a strong economy and higher interest rates. Expect small business hiring to continue its march sitting around 25-30 percent of total hiring.