The unemployment rate was 3.7% in January, and 353,000 jobs were added

The unemployment rate was 3.7% in January, and 353,000 jobs were added

Gwengoat/Getty Images; Jenny Chang-Rodriguez/BI

  • New data released Friday showed the U.S. began 2024 with 353,000 nonfarm payrolls added in January.
  • This far outpaces projected job growth.
  • The unemployment rate was 3.7% in January as well as in December.

January was a solid month for US job growth.

according to news release 353,000 nonfarm payrolls were added that month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. This far exceeded the expected gain of 187,000 jobs.

December increase Revised from 216,000 to 333,000.

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Leisure and hospitality posted a gain of 11,000 jobs in January, retail trade gained nearly 45,000 jobs, and professional and business services gained 74,000. In Friday’s news release, the 74,000 increase was “significantly higher than the average monthly increase of 14,000 jobs in 2023.”

The mining and logging industry lost 6,000 jobs in early 2024.

“Employment in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas production declined by 5,000 in January after a small net change in 2023,” said a Friday news release from the BLS.

After the end of 2023, the unemployment rate was 3.7% in January and 3.7% in both November and December. The expected rate for January was 3.8%.

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Not only those who work, but also “actively looking for work,” remained at 62.5%.

In January, wage growth was quite strong. Average hourly earnings increased by 4.5% On a year-over-year basis in January, this outpaces the 4.3% increase over the past few years. These earnings also rose 0.6% from December to January, from $34.36 to $34.55.

Earlier data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday showed that cuts In December, the rate of discharges was 1.0%. That news release showed 9.0 million jobs were added that month. That’s slightly higher than November’s level, but not at the monthly level seen in 2022 or even the first half of 2023.

It’s still early in the year, but job seekers and unemployed workers hoping to find work may be struggling to find a successful job.

“The labor market is likely to be colder in 2024, which means it will be harder to find a job this year than last year,” said Daniel Zhao, chief economist at job search platform Glassdoor. This was previously reported by Business Insider.

While Friday’s new release shows what average hourly earnings data looks like, another news release this week compensation costs for working employees.

“Employment Cost Index data suggests that as wage growth slowed further in the fourth quarter, employers feel less pressure to raise wages to attract and retain workers,” said Cory Stahle, economist at Indeed Hiring Lab. “Although 2023 is a year of gradual moderation in wage growth, rates still remain above pre-pandemic standards as a result of continued demand for workers and low unemployment.”

The Federal Reserve will monitor labor markets closely. This week, the Fed kept the interest rate steady for the fourth consecutive meeting. Although interest rate hikes have been halted, people expect a cut later this year.

“The Fed is certainly pushing back on the concept of a rate cut in March, dashing investors’ hopes again, but keeping options open and remaining noncommittal as a central bank,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. .

Still, a hot job market could mean the Fed waits a little longer before cutting rates.

This is an evolving story. Please check for updates.

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