watch nowThe U.S. labor market closed out 2023 in strong shape as the pace of hiring was even more powerful than expected, the Labor Department reported Friday. December's jobs report showed employers added 216,000 positions for the month while the unemployment rate held at 3.7%. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for payrolls to increase 170,000 and the unemployment rate to nudge higher to 3.8%. That increase in the "real" unemployment rate came as the household survey, used to calculate the unemployment rate, showed a decline in job holders of 683,000. The report showed that inflationary pressures, despite receding elsewhere, are still prevalent in the labor market.