This newsletter references the BLS Report of January activity, released 2/2/18.

January Sets Strong Pace for Job Growth in 2018 with 200,00 New Jobs Amid Continued Record-Low Unemployment and Rising Wages

JOB GROWTH: The new year brought job growth of 200,000.

TOP INDUSTRIES: The strongest job gains in January were scored in construction, hospitality, healthcare, and manufacturing.

UNEMPLOYMENT: The unemployment rate continued unchanged at 4.1 percent—a rate it has sustained for the fourth month running and still at its lowest level in 17 years.

WAGES: Amid lots of buzz around the possibility of fatter paychecks in the future due to tax breaks, bonuses and raises, January offered up a positive sign as the average hourly earnings rate moved from 2.6 percent to 2.9 percent on an annual basis. 

WORK WEEK: The average work week in January was a bit shorter than December, shifting from 34.5 hours to 34.3 hours.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: The temporary jobs sector added 1,800 jobs in January 2018, after a restatement of 2017 activity lowered the bar on overall growth for the year. Although this change dropped the temporary share of the total market below the three million milestone, the temporary help sector achieved annual growth in 2017 that exceeded the previous year.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Right out of the gate, 2018 is showing solid growth in employment, although it is expected to be slower growth than in recent years. The brightest spot in the economic landscape this month is the welcome news of positive movement in wages, after several years of puzzling stagnation. The fact that employers are (finally) upping financial incentives to attract and retain talent underscores the continuing challenges employers face in light of ongoing skills shortages.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, CNN/Money, CNBC, Reuters, Business Insider, Observer, Fortune