Offering the latest snapshot of the economy, the official employment report out Friday showed the USA added significantly more jobs than expected in January and that wages increased despite the longest partial government shutdown in history.
Data from the employment site Glassdoor shows that the number of job postings rose almost 9 percent in late January compared with a year earlier, suggesting that demand for labor remained strong. The U.S. has now added jobs for 100 straight months, the longest such period on record.
Both the unemployment rate, at 4.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 6.5 million, edged up in January.
"Meanwhile, House Republicans overwhelmingly voted against a pay raise for federal civilian workers, refusing to respect the perseverance and patriotism of the men and women who were just furloughed or forced to work without pay", Pelosi said. That compared to an 85-cent increase at 3.2 percent over the year.
In January, employment grew in several industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing. Glassdoor saw a 10 percent bump in federal workers looking for jobs on its website two weeks after the government shutdown started - when they missed their first paychecks. The report came two days after the Fed signaled its three-year interest rate hike campaign might be ending because of rising headwinds to the economy, including financial market volatility and softening global growth. Almost all of this increase occurred in the private sector and may reflect the impact of the partial federal government shutdown.
Nonfarm payrolls jumped by 304,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since February 2018, the Labor Department said.
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"That doesn't necessarily signal a dramatic change in the trend for the job market or the US economy". Job growth was boosted by hiring at construction sites, retailers and business services as well as at restaurants and hotels. But the Labor Department said it had no effect on jobs creation.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 165,000 jobs in January. Some employers are still reluctant to offer higher pay, which has made it harder for them to find and keep workers, she said.
What do the U.S. jobs numbers mean for Wall Street?
The unemployment rate did rise in January to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, but mostly for a technical reason: Roughly 175,000 federal workers were counted as temporarily unemployed last month because of the shutdown.
An analyst at the United States investment bank Charles Schwab, Kully Samra, stated: "A tight labour market and healthy wage growth support economic growth, and today's data should buoy consumer spending and could boost the stock market". The increase in jobs topped analysts' expectations - and the 223,000 average monthly gain in 2018.
"Blockbuster job number distorted by workers forced to accept part time employment to make ends meet during government shutdown". The importance of the continued rise in work and labor market participation can not be overstated. And this latest data doesn't actually change the monthly average very much. The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not reflect those of Berenberg Capital Markets, LLC.