This week brings the final US jobs report of 2019, buttoning up a solid year for jobs growth as consumer spending stayed strong and concerns about a recession abated.

But it’s an open question how long substantial jobs growth can continue. Heading into 2020, momentum is poised to weaken.

“We’re likely to see a slower pace of job creation in December, and there is a risk that we see a broader slowdown in hiring over the coming months,” James Smith, developed markets economist at ING, said in a note to clients. “As ever though, a lot depends on trade.”

The outlook

Economists polled by Reuters believe the US economy added 160,000 jobs in December. That’s a very good number, but well below the 266,000 jobs created in November.

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Commerzbank, however, thinks the November number was partially inflated by the end of the General Motors strike. Its economists think that the December rise, though less dramatic, “should create the conditions for the consumer to remain in a buying mood.”

“[The] US economy is still a job machine,” Commerzbank economists told clients. They expect an increase of 190,000 jobs.

Why it’s worth monitoring

Investors read the jobs report closely for a check on the health of the US economy. Should jobs growth falter, the consumer spending that’s supported America’s economy could take a hit.