Job growth in December and 2012 failed to accelerate, data showed Friday, providing the economy with no extra buffer as consumers feel new tax hikes this year.

Payrolls expanded by 155,000 last month, the Labor Department said, in line with 2012's monthly average of 153,000, which also matched 2011's pace.

"It's still modest after all this time," said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets. "That's most striking about this report."