Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Jobs Report: January Brought Retail Growth & Solid Employment Gains

US employers added 304,000 jobs in January, soaring past expectations US economy adds 304,000 jobs in January
Priscilla Morrison | 03 February, 2019, 17:45

The Labor Department released its first monthly jobs report for 2019, showing the US added 304,000 jobs to the economy. Transportation, leisure and hospitality, construction and health care led the job gains.

The impact of the partial federal government shutdown contributed to the uptick in unemployment rate in January, the bureau said, noting that the number of unemployed people who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 175,000, which includes furloughed federal employees.

While the Dow Jones estimate was for only 170,000 new jobs in January's nonfarm payrolls, there was a net downward revision of 70,000 payrolls when looking at the combined revisions for December and November. Average hourly earnings grew 3.2 percent over the past 12 months - topping the 3.2 percentincrease in December.

US job growth surged in January, with employers hiring the most workers in 11 months, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite an uncertain outlook that has left the Federal Reserve wary about more interest rate hikes this year.

The healthy gain the government reported Friday illustrated the job market's resilience almost a decade into the economic expansion.

"The respectable employment data provides something of a relief, for now at least, for members of the Federal Reserve who have been bracing for the possibility of a more serious slowdown in the US economy", said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.

The American economy added 304,000 jobs in January, yet again smashing expectations. The Labor Department said that increase might be attributable to private-sector contractors who lost work during the lapse in funding.

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MARTIN: So does that mean the job market, basically, escaped largely unscathed because of the shutdown last month? The government itself also spent less. By contrast, the overall economy has increased the number of jobs by 1.9%-and 0.2% last month. Workers have seen a streak of relatively robust gains as employers have had to pay more to attract them.

Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief this month as policymakers sent strong signals they meant to pause, meaning investors could be in for an unwelcome surprise.

The 35-day government shutdown caused 800,000 workers to miss two paychecks.

MARTIN: So January - clearly, a big month for hiring.

January marked a record 100 straight months of job gains.

"I am right now planning our first family vacation in three years", she said. Job growth around 120,000 is more than enough to keep the unemployment rate under 4%.

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