December’s job additions took total job creation in the United States to more than 2 million last year. With this, job additions crossed the 2 million mark for nine years on the trot.
Particularly in December, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 145,000, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Despite slower economic growth and a slump in manufacturing last year, hiring remained steady and unemployment continued to be at a record low level.
Where Were the Jobs Added?
The protracted U.S.-China trade war has hit manufacturers and the sector added merely 46,000 jobs in 2019, which is far less than 264,000 jobs added in 2018. However, three sectors that played a big role in achieving the 2 million mark are healthcare, leisure and hospitality, and retail.
Per the BLS report, the healthcare sector added 28,000 jobs in December particularly in ambulatory healthcare services and hospitals. Overall, the sector added 399,000 jobs in 2019 compared to 350,000 job additions in 2018.
Factors that boosted the healthcare space in 2019, primarily includes developments in biotech space (research and drugs in pipeline) and mega mergers. Additionally, two major events, vaping and measles outbreak also impacted the sector. Vaping had been a serious concern across the United States with more than 2,400 peopled hospitalized with lung injuries. The measles epidemic in 2019 affected more than 1,200 people — the largest reported number since 1992.
Leisure and retail sectors, on the other hand, received a boost from robust consumer spending. Per the Commerce Department, consumer outlays increased 0.4% in November, its strongest gain since July. Consumer sentiment in fact was high due to a low unemployment rate that helped them spend more in the holiday season and throughout the year.
The leisure and hospitality sector added 40,000 jobs in December. The industry notched 388,000 jobs in 2019, higher than 2018’s 359,000 job additions. Meanwhile, the retail sector added 41,000 jobs in December, with 33,000 new hiring across clothing and accessories stores and 7,000 in building material and garden supply stores.
5 Stocks to Buy
Given the job additions and sustained growth in the healthcare, leisure and hospitality, and retail sectors we have shortlisted five stocks that are poised to return well on investment. Moreover, the stocks carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).
Amedisys, Inc. (AMED - Free Report) provides healthcare services in the United States through three major segments: home health, hospice, and personal care. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 20.9% compared with the Zacks Medical - Outpatient and Home Healthcare industry’s projected earnings growth of 9.7%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 5.5% upward over the past 90 days. Amedisys flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
LHC Group, Inc. (LHCG - Free Report) is a health care provider that specializes in the post-acute continuum of care primarily for Medicare beneficiaries in the United States. This Zacks Rank #1company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 25.6% compared with the Zacks Medical Services industry’s projected earnings growth of 12.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised more than 6% upward over the past 90 days.
Genesco Inc. (GCO - Free Report) is a Zacks Rank #1 company that offers a range of footwear, apparel and accessories. This retailer and wholesaler operate through four segments: Journeys Group, Schuh Group, Johnston & Murphy Group, and Licensed Brands. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 30.5% compared with the Zacks Retail - Apparel and Shoes industry’s projected earnings growth of 1.6%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 6.7% upward over the past 60 days.
RH (RH - Free Report) is a retailer of home furnishings, offering a range of furniture, lighting, textiles, bathware, décor, outdoor and garden, tableware, and child and teen furnishings products. The company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 35.4% compared with the Zacks Retail - Home Furnishings industry’s projected earnings growth of 2.7%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 7.1% upward over the past 60 days. RH flaunts a Zacks Rank #1.
Carnival Corporation & Plc (CCL - Free Report) is a leisure travel company that provides vacations to various cruise destinations. The company also owns and operates hotels, lodges, glass-domed railcars, and motor coaches. Its expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 3.4% against the Zacks Leisure and Recreation Services industry’s projected earnings decline of 0.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the Zacks Rank #2 company’s current-year earnings has been revised 3.2% upward over the past 60 days.
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