U.S. Economy Adds 225,000 Jobs in January, Surpassing Economists’ Expectations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. economy added 225,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in January and the unemployment rate ticked up 10 basis points to 3.6 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast an increase of 158,000 jobs.

The BLS also revised the job growth numbers upward for November and December by a combined 7,000. The revised figures now show employers added 261,000 jobs in November and 147,000 in December. The average monthly gain in 2019 was 175,000 jobs.

Notable employment gains in January occurred in construction, healthcare, leisure and hospitality, and in transportation and warehousing. More specifically, the construction sector added 44,000 jobs, more than three times as much as the monthly average in 2019 (12,000). Economists say the relatively mild weather across the United States early this year gave a boost to the construction industry.

The healthcare industry added 36,000 jobs in January, with most of those positions coming in ambulatory healthcare services (23,000) and hospitals (10,000).

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in January as the sector added 36,000 jobs. Over the past six months, the industry has added 288,000 jobs.

Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 28,000 in January.

Not all employment categories experienced growth, however. The manufacturing sector lost 12,000 jobs in January almost exclusively because of a loss of 11,000 jobs in motor vehicles and parts.

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $28.44. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1 percent.

The labor force participation rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 63.4 percent in January, matching its highest level since June 2013, according to the BLS.

— Alex Tostado

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