On The Money: Stocks soar on strong December jobs report | Trump threatens years-long shutdown | Fed chief says he won't resign if Trump asks

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THE BIG DEAL--Economy adds robust 312K jobs in December, well above expectations: The U.S. economy added 312,000 jobs in December, well above expectations, as the labor market continues to expand even as worries grow about an economic slowdown and turbulent stock markets.  

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The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9 percent from 3.7 percent as the labor force expanded by 419,000, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The labor force participation rate rose to 63.1 percent in December, the highest it has been since early 2014, from 62.9 percent in November.

Economists had expected about 182,000 jobs to be added last month, and the stellar growth should ease some fears about a broader economic slowdown. The Hill's Vicki Needham tells us more here.

 

Reactions:

 

Stocks soar on strong December jobs report, Powell remarks: Stocks soared Friday morning on the heels of a strong December jobs report and reassurance from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 747 points, a 3.29-percent increase, while the Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 index rose 4.26 and 3.43 percent each by the end of Friday trading.

  • Analysts had expected the economy to add 182,000 jobs to end 2018. The significant overshoot gave a boost to traders after weeks of dismal headlines from the U.S. and abroad.
  • The strong jobs report came after data released this week showed a global industrial slowdown and Apple slashed its earnings forecast, citing plunging demand.

 

Wall Street added to its gains after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave investors hope for fewer interest rate hikes in 2019. Powell said during a panel appearance that the Fed "will be prepared to adjust policy quickly and flexibly."

While the Fed is projecting two rate hikes this year, Powell said the central bank is "listening sensitively to the message that markets are sending."

Powell's remarks Friday were largely in line with previous comments about potential rate hikes. The chairman did not appear to suggest a dovish shift in Fed policy, but traders appeared to take solace in Powell's direct message to markets.

 

Powell also says he won't resign: Powell also said Friday he would not resign if asked to by President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg on Mueller report: 'Politically, I'm not sure it will change much' Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue' Trump to visit Japan in May to meet with Abe, new emperor MORE, who has reportedly considered firing the Fed chairman. It's unclear if Trump can do so, but experts say that a shot at Powell could devastate financial markets.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Trump threatens to extend government shutdown for years: President Trump on Friday threatened to keep about 25 percent of the federal government closed for years until he gets his desired funding to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

He made the remark during a closed-door meeting at the White House with congressional leaders on the 14th day of a partial government shutdown.

Trump confirmed after the meeting that he "absolutely" said the shutdown could last more than a year, as first noted by Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for 'professional' press conference Pelosi: Barr press briefing a 'staggering partisan effort' MORE (N.Y.) who was at the meeting.

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The president added that he didn't think it would last that long, saying Democrats want to make a deal. 

"I think it may have been somewhat contentious but it was also productive," Trump said. The Hill's Alexander Bolton and Jordan Fabian take us there.

 

Headlines from the meeting:

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

ODDS AND ENDS