The 312,000 person gain posted in December is only 12,000 persons less than the gain you see in February. And since the figure plotted here is only the first edition, it is possible that December could yet be the largest month-to-month gain of the year.
The more important point is that the December number removes all of the doubts that had been festering about the implications of the slower pace of hiring that was observed between October and November. Those doubts were behind some of the arguments against the Fed moving in December.
The December numbers blew those doubts out the door.
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