Non-farm payrolls added 225,000 jobs last month according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, far exceeding economists’ predictions. Prior to the release of the report, economists surveyed by MarketWatch were calling for the addition of 165,000 jobs to public and private payrolls.
“It’s a really strong start to the year, and another sign that this expansion has really astounded by continuing to pull folks into the labor force,” says Nick Bunker, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, speaking with The Washington Post. “The strong labor gains are great — we’re not only seeing a rise in labor force participation but a pickup in employment as well. It’s a sign that the labor market has some momentum and could keep going for quite some time.”
The report also showed a slightly higher employment rate — in this case, a positive sign.
“The unemployment rate ticked higher to 3.6%, but for the right reason as the labor force participation rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 63.4%, matching its highest level since June 2013, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department,” writes Jeff Cox at CNBC.
The unseasonably warm weather in January contributed to gains, especially in construction and transportation, according to Capital Economics Chief US Economist Paul Ashworth (per CNN).
Where Jobs Are Growing
Several industries added jobs last month, including:
- Construction (+44,000 jobs)
- Health care (+36,000 jobs)
- Transportation & warehousing (+28,000 jobs)
- Leisure & hospitality (+36,000 jobs)
- Professional & business services (+21,000 jobs)
Manufacturing employment declined by 12,000 jobs, while other industries were essentially unchanged for the month. These included mining, retail trade, wholesale trade, financial activities and government.
Average hourly earnings increased 7 cents to $28.44. The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, shows that wages rose 2.5% year-over-year for Q4 2019. Since 2006, nominal wages have grown 16%; however, real wages declined 9% during the same period.
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