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Good Info353,000 U.S. Jobs Added in January; Monthly Report Smashes Expectations

353,000 U.S. Jobs Added in January; Monthly Report Smashes Expectations

File photo by Daria Pimkina

The jobs report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed much stronger growth than expected to start the 2024 new year.

353,000 non-farm jobs were added in January, while average hourly wages continued to grow and the unemployment remained at the historically low level of 3.7 percent for the third month in a row.

The January total was similar to the gain in December of 333,000 jobs. The new hirings occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, and social assistance.

The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 19 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $34.55.

Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.5 percent. Wage growth was also strong last month, at 0.6 percent for the month. While we don’t have CPI inflation yet for January, in December, it was 3.4 percent, year-over-year. The inflation number being well below December’s 4.3 percent wage gain (year-over-year), which is good for workers.

Employment showed little change in January for other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and other services.

Revisions make things look even brighter

The change in nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised up by 9,000 (from +173,000 to +182,000) and the total for December was revised up by 117,000 jobs (from +216,000 to +333,000).

With these revisions, employment in November and December combined is 126,000 higher than previously reported.

The U.S. economy has defied expectations for a while now

The January jobs number is consistent with other recent economic outcomes, including the third quarter GDP growth ending in September 2023—which rose a whopping 4.9%—and the record Stock Market heights that continued to build in 2024.

The unemployment rate has been below 4 percent for 2 years running, the best such record since the 1960s. Real GDP also surprised to the upside last quarter and over the full year. The real GDP at the end of 2023 was just under $1 trillion higher than expected, according to the Blue Chip forecast at the end of 2022.

“The combination of strong job growth, rising nominal wages, and slower inflation has led to solid gains on aggregate compensation,” said the Council of Economic Advisors in a statement February 2.

You can do a deep-dive into the employment details at the Bureau’s report.

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