The US economy maintained strong employment growth in December, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.5%, but rising borrowing costs as the central bank fights inflation could lead to a significant weakening of labor market dynamics by mid-year.

The US Department of Labor said in its widely publicized report Friday that non-farm payrolls increased by 223,000 jobs last month. The data for November was revised and showed the creation of 256 thousand jobs instead of 263 thousand before the amendment.

According to a Reuters poll, economists were expecting a 200,000 job increase, with estimates ranging from 130,000 to 350,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate in America fell to 3.5% from 3.6% in November.

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