US employers add robust 304K jobs; joblessness up to 4 pct

US employers add robust 304K jobs; joblessness up to 4 pct

Offering the latest snapshot of the economy, the official employment report out Friday showed the United States added significantly more jobs than expected in January and that wages increased despite the longest partial government shutdown in history.

The rate of unemployment rose up to four percent - from the 3.9 percent that was recorded last December - as did the number of people that are unemployed, increasing to 6.5m.

The numbers released Friday by the Department of Labor represent the largest monthly jobs increase in almost a year and continue a long running trend of 100 consecutive months of growth.

It added that some of the federal workers classified themselves as "employed but absent from work" during the month, which would not have been included in the figures for unemployment. That left the annual increase in wages at 3.2 percent.

Gains occurred in a number of sectors: Leisure and hospitality added 74,000 jobs, construction 52,000, health care about 45,000, retail almost 21,000 and manufacturing 13,000.

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

Businesses created 304,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department said on Friday.

The report is a key piece of data in gauging the direction of the U.S. Economy.

Different job sectors contributed to USA job growth.

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While the month-long government shutdown didn't greatly affect jobs numbers, there was a slight impact.

Economists said the robust job growth was likely more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate heading downward.

Non-farm payroll expansion of 304,000 jobs far exceeded 165,000 estimates.

Even though the shutdown was not expected to interrupt the average 200,000 jobs per month that have been added over the last decade, some in the White House had been bracing for weaker-than-expected results. Nevertheless, the final January data should continue to reflect a healthy labor market.

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.

It was boosted by a 500,000 increase in the number of people working part time, likely because of the government shutdown. It would also count contractors who did not work during this period as unemployed. The report contains data from two surveys: the Current Employment Survey (CES) and the Current Population Survey (CPS).

During the recent government shutdown, economists thought that hundreds of thousands of federal workers placed on furlough for more than a month may artificially impact the jobs numbers.

On Thursday, the Employment Cost Index - a broader measure of earnings - showed that total compensation rose more in 2018 than it had since 2008. Following revisions, job gains have averaged 241,000 per month since November.

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