Hiring in December was smallest in two years, and it extended a hiring slowdown for most of 2022, aiding inflation fight.

US employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in December, evidence that the economy remains healthy even as the Federal Reserve

is rapidly raising interest rates to try to slow economic growth and the pace of hiring. With companies continuing to add jobs across the economy,

the unemployment rate fell from 3.6 percent to 3.5 percent, matching a 53-year low, the Department of Labor said Friday.

All told, the December jobs report suggested that the labour market may be cooling in a way that could aid the Fed’s fight against high inflation.

Last month’s gain was the smallest in two years, and it extended a hiring slowdown for most of 2022.

In addition, average hourly pay growth eased in December to its slowest pace in 16 months. That slowdown could reduce pressure on employers to raise prices to offset their higher labour costs.