The economy produced 304,000 in January, according to the Labor Department. This is a lot more than the 165,000 economists were expecting for the month, given that the longest-ever government shutdown occurred during the period surveyed.
There was a lot of good news in this report.
Wage growth also beat expectations, growing at an annualized 3.2 percent. Better still, the gains for workers in nonmanagerial roles were higher than those enjoyed by managers. Rapid wage gains by nonmanagerial workers is truly a sign of a tight labor market.
Indeed, with the workforce participation rate rising to 63.2 percent in January, it’s clear that job gains are broad-based and robust in what is now the longest job-creation streak in modern U.S. history.
In January, job gains were strongest in the transportation, leisure and hospitality, construction, and health care sectors.
However, it seems the 35-day shutdown did help to nudge the unemployment rate higher, to 4 percent from 3.9 percent.
There were also downward revisions to previous jobs reports, with the combined November and December job gains – previously reported as 490,000 jobs – was revised down by 70,000.
We may see some revision to the January total, as new data dribbles in. Still, it would take a lot of revision to change anyone’s view that this was a stellar performance for the economy.