Employers added 304,000 jobs last month, according to the monthly Employment Situation Summary from the Labor Department. Unemployment ticked up to 4 percent, in part due to government workers who were temporarily laid off during the government shutdown.
However, the shutdown doesn’t seem to have had a major impact on the economy.
“This jobs report is showing no evidence of an economy slowing, certainly not falling into recession,” says Michelle Meyer, chief United States economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, speaking with The New York Times. “It’s still a tight labor market. Employers are still actively looking for jobs, and with wages ticking up, it looks like workers are getting some more bargaining power.”
Average hourly pay for private-sector workers rose 3 cents to $27.56. Average hourly earnings rose 3.2 percent over the year. However, The PayScale Index shows that real wages have fallen 9 percent since 2006, as of Q4 2018. That means that workers’ pay buys 9 percent less than it did a few years before the last recession.
Minimal Effects From the Shutdown (So Far)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were “no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours and earnings from the establishment survey,” which collects data from over 140,000 businesses and government agencies.
In a statement, Acting Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski says:
Federal government employment was essentially unchanged over the month (+1,000). Federal employees on furlough during the shutdown were considered employed in the establishment survey because they worked or received pay (or will receive pay) for the survey’s reference period, which is the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. It is likely that some private industries were affected by the shutdown; however, we are not able to quantify the impacts.
In addition, it’s important to note that impacts on the economy and/or the job market aren’t the same as impacts for individual workers. Government workers who were furloughed or worked without pay may feel the financial impact of missing paychecks for some time — especially if they’re among the thousands of government contractors who may not receive back pay.
Where Jobs Are Growing
Several industries added jobs last month, including:
- Leisure and hospitality (+74,000 jobs)
- Construction (+52,000 jobs)
- Healthcare (+42,000 jobs)
- Business and professional services (+30,000 jobs)
- Transportation and warehousing (+27,000 jobs)
- Retail trade (+21,000 jobs)
- Manufacturing (+13,000 jobs)
- Mining (+7,000 jobs)
Other industries showed little growth in January, including information, financial activities and wholesale trade.
Tell Us What You Think
What’s your take on this report? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.