Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 4%


The latest jobs report brought good news of growth. The first month of the new year produced 467,000 new jobs, after upward revisions of the previous two months’ reports. Due to the adjustments, December numbers more than doubled, from 199,000 new jobs to 510,000.


January jobs growth continued recent trends, with gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and transportation and warehousing.


The unemployment rate was virtually unchanged at 4.0%.  


January saw a continuing increase in compensation, bringing the 12-month average monthly wage up by 5.7%.


The average work week was abbreviated slightly to 34.5 hours.


The temporary help sector fared well in an annual adjustment of monthly reports, with January showing an increase of more than 26,000 jobs. That brings the size of the temporary workforce across a milestone marker of 3,091,200 workers.


Between the robust number of new jobs created in January and the higher numbers reported for the past few months, the outlook for a speedier recovery is considerably brighter at this time. Despite some lingering concerns about COVID, people are making a concerted move beyond the pandemic to re-establish a semblance of normality in their lives.

The number of job quits remains high at over 4 million monthly, but it is less a sign of a slowing economy than a rising desire to pursue better opportunities. Most people are not moving from employment to unemployment but to better employment. Workers seek higher pay, as well as new challenges and pathways to career success. That presents employers with a clear mandate to ensure their recruiting ability is equal to their focus on both employee engagement and retention as we go forward.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Steinberg Employment Research, Staffing Industry Analysts, American Staffing Association, Business Insider, Bloomberg, FOX News, CNBC, NBC, CNN