Employment Growth Rises Above 300,000 in the First Month of the Year
Unemployment Again Edges Up to Higher Rate of 4.0 Percent

JOB GROWTH: January hiring set a strong pace, with the addition of 304,000 new jobs. This was significantly higher than the adjusted 222,000 recorded for the previous month.

TOP INDUSTRIES: The industry sectors reporting the highest gains in January included leisure and hospitality, construction, healthcare and transportation and warehousing.

UNEMPLOYMENT: Hitting 4.0 percent, the unemployment rate edged up in January, following an increase in December. The partial government shutdown was cited as contributing to the latest rise.

WAGES: Hourly earnings trended up again, moving the average annual rate up to 3.2 percent.

WORK WEEK: The average work week was unchanged in January at 34.5 hours.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: Growth in the temporary jobs sector slowed in January, adding only 1,000 new jobs in the first month of the year.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? The January jobs report offered strong evidence of a robust economy. Not only was January the 100th month of consecutive job growth, it recorded the highest number of new jobs in 11 months. Convinced job growth will moderate as we move through the year, economists anticipated significantly lower numbers for the month. Those predictions are in line with the many businesses that report difficulty meeting hiring projections, due to a shrinking labor pool. Compounding that worry is a less than rosy compensation picture. Although wages expanded slightly in January, this remains an area of concern as workers are more apt to switch jobs in search of a significant salary bump.

This newsletter references the BLS Report of November activity, released 2/1/19.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, CNBC, Staffing Industry Analysts, Bloomberg, FOX Business, CBS News, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal