Jobs Report: January Brought Retail Growth & Solid Employment Gains

Feb 04, 2019, 01:24
Jobs Report: January Brought Retail Growth & Solid Employment Gains

However, December's jobs growth figure was revised to 222,000, down from an initial estimate of 312,000.

Non-farm payrolls grew by 304,000 in January 2019, far exceeding the 165,000 jobs expected.

Job growth increased broadly in January.

The healthy gain the government reported Friday illustrated the job market's resilience almost a decade into the economic expansion. The BLS also indicated that almost all of this increase was in the private sector and may reflect the impact of the partial federal government shutdown.

A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who want to work but have given up searching and those working part-time because they can not find full-time employment, jumped to an 11-month high of 8.1 percent in January from 7.6 percent in December.

Unemployment rose slightly from 3.9 to 4 percent due to the effects of the shutdown as some 175,000 federal workers were temporarily unemployed.

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The goods producing industry added 72,000 net new jobs, the most since February 2018, fueled by a 52,000 increase in construction employment.

North said the rate is almost a ideal number, "not too hot" so as to spark fears of inflation, but "not too cold" to raise concerns about wage stagnation.

'Both the unemployment rate, at 4.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 6.5 million, edged up in January.

The average monthly gain for all of 2018 was 223,000.

"Overall, it speaks to what we've known for a long time, that the labor market is one of the strongest parts of the economy".

The government shutdown saw about 380,000 workers furloughed but President Donald Trump signed a law guaranteeing these employees back pay. This pushed up the unemployment rate by one-tenth of a percentage point from 3.9 percent in December.

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All 800,000 workers are now back on the job and will receive back pay after Republican and Democratic lawmakers reached a deal to reopen the government for three weeks while they try to work out an agreement on border security.

The string of job growth underscores the long economic expansion since the Great Recession.

The report is a key piece of data in gauging the direction of the U.S. Economy. Hiring was likely boosted by mild temperatures in January.

But the shutdown was also a driver of the rise in the unemployment rate, since the separate survey of households used to determine the joblessness counted furloughed workers as well as contractors as unemployed.

Retail jobs, however, have stayed essentially flat over the past year as e-commerce - usually represented in the transportation and warehousing category - has taken over an increasing share of employment in the sector.

The average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours in January.

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