Despite shutdown, U.S. employers add robust 304K jobs in January

03 February, 2019, 19:10 | Author: Billie Castillo
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The Labor Department released its first monthly jobs report for 2019, showing the US added 304,000 jobs to the economy.

The December jobs report was a series of numbers that range from fantastic to fantastical.

"It just makes you realize that you have to not get too worked up about one particular month", said Dan North, the chief economist at Euler Hermes North America. "It's accelerating, and you wouldn't expect to see that 10 years into the recovery". The shutdown will probably end up slowing the economy's growth for the first three months of the year. Those workers were counted as employed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

The healthcare sector was undeterred by the government shutdown that went on for most of January, making 41,600 new hires last month and almost 20,000 more new hires as compared to January 2018. The result is the unemployment rate probably should have been even higher - maybe 4.1 percent.

Another 450,000 federal employees were required to work during the shutdown without pay.

The number of employees working part-time for economic reasons spiked in January.

Employment in leisure and hospitality grew by 74,000 jobs for the month, with restaurants and bars adding 32,000, while construction added 52,000 workers and hospitals and ambulatory care centers together added about 41,000 net new positions.

The data is in line with trends reported on jobs websites.

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The private sector economy kept on hiring in January despite the government shutdown that lasted 35 days.

The workers who took part-time jobs during the shutdown likely have given them up, so that number should fall in next month's jobs report.

The strong job market is also encouraging more people who weren't working to begin looking. The federal government itself also spent less.

The unemployment rate climbed to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, while the labor force participation rate rose slightly to 63.2 percent.

But in a separate survey of households that's used to calculate the unemployment rate, many of these people were counted as temporarily jobless. This is the fastest rate of wage increases in almost a decade.

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

The strong showing represents almost a doubling of the 165,000 jobs economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected would be added to in January. Last year saw more job creation than the previous two years, with 2.6 million new jobs over the course of the year compared with 2.2 million in 2017 and 2.3 million in 2016.For the full year of 2018, the average monthly gain was 223,000.

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