United States employers add robust 304K jobs; joblessness up to 4 pct

US employers added 304,000 jobs in January, soaring past expectations

US economy adds 304,000 jobs in January

Despite a partial government shutdown that lasted for much of the month, the USA economy added 304,000 jobs in January, according to the Labor Department.

The labor force participation rate budged slightly at 63.2 percent, with average hourly earnings improving by a marginal 3 cents to $27.56 after an adjusted 10-cent gain in December. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by a total of 85 cents, or about 3.2 percent.

The partial shutdown of federal agencies may have ended (for at least a couple more weeks), but the effects of that episode are still being observed.

Here's a brief rundown on how the shutdown did and did not affect the January unemployment report.

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And hiring in December was revised sharply downward to a still-strong 222,000, but far lower than the 312,000 positions initially reported.

US employment numbers surged in January 2019, but wages stagnated in the latest US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS).

The workers who took part-time jobs during the shutdown likely have given them up, so that number should fall in next month's jobs report. Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors, wrote that though there is volatility in the USA stock market, the encouraging jobs numbers will ultimately strengthen the U.S. economy. Last week's applications for unemployment benefits came in at 253,000, above from the 49-year low hit earlier in the month but still low by historical standards.

Hundreds of thousands of government workers were either left idle for most of the month or required to work without pay. That indicates that consumers have been spending freely on recreation, as paychecks have grown and the unemployment rate has sunk.

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The string of job growth underscores the long economic expansion since the Great Recession.

The strong job market is also encouraging more people who weren't working to begin looking. That lowered the annual increase in wages to 3.2 percent from 3.3 percent in December, giving the employment report a Goldilocks feel. Some employers are still reluctant to offer higher pay, which has made it harder for them to find and keep workers, she said.

China's economy is decelerating sharply, the United Kingdom is struggling to negotiate its exit from the European Union, and Italy's economy has entered recession, exacerbating fears that slower global growth will cut into USA exports. Stocks on Wall Street rose, while U.S. Treasury prices fell.

Construction employment rose by 52,000. Meanwhile, the US added approximately 304,000 jobs, particularly in the leisure and hospitality, transportation and warehousing, construction, and health care industries.

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Manufacturing payrolls increased by 13,000, slowing from December's 20,000 increase.

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