• From the Associated Press:
"The nation’s employers added a robust 216,000 jobs last month, the latest sign that the American job market remains resilient even in the face of sharply higher interest rates.
"Friday’s report from the Labor Department showed that December’s job gain exceeded the 173,000 that were added in November. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% — the 23rd straight month that joblessness has remained below 4%.
"Some details of the report, though, may disappoint the inflation fighters at the Federal Reserve, who might now be inclined to delay any cuts in their benchmark interest rate. Average hourly wages rose 4.1% from a year earlier, up from a 4% gain in November, which could make it harder for the Fed to slow inflation back to its 2% target.
"And the proportion of people who either have a job or are looking for one fell to 62.5%, the lowest level since February. The Fed prefers having more people in the labor force to help ease pressure on companies to sharply boost pay to attract or retain workers and to then pass those high labor costs on to consumers by raising prices.
"Despite the low unemployment and cooling inflation, polls show that many Americans are dissatisfied with the economy. That disconnect, which will likely be an issue in the 2024 elections, has puzzled economists and political analysts."
• From Fox Business:
"Sales of sugary drinks plummeted by about one-third across five U.S. cities after they started taxing those products, a study published Friday found.
"Soda taxes adopted in each city pushed sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) prices up and led to a decline in sales that lasted as policymakers intended, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Health Forum.
"Researchers say their findings show soda taxes are an effective policy tool to help consumers cut down on their sugar intake, but the beverage industry opposes them.
"The five U.S. cities examined were Boulder, Colorado; Philadelphia; Oakland, California; Seattle and San Francisco. Tax amounts levied on sugary drinks in these cities ranged from 1 to 2 cents per ounce. For a 2-liter bottle of soda, that adds as much as an extra $1.36 in taxes to the price."