US Job Growth Tops Expectations

Job seekers wait in line during the Tech Fair LA job fair in Los Angeles California

Payroll surge: Employers add 227000 jobs in January

Retailers, including clothing, electronics and furniture stores, added 46,000 positions for the month while construction added 36,000 new positions.

In another welcome development, the unemployment rose by a tenth of a percentage point to 4.8% as the labour force participation rate moved up from 62.7% to 62.9%. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, was up by 457,000 over the month, and the employment-population ratio edged up to 59.9 percent.

Revisions to the November and December data, which subtracted 39,000 from the originally reported figures, meant the economy created an average of 183,000 new jobs over the past three months. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.

Though jobs are surging, the labor market is not creating the kind of work US President Donald Trump wants for Americans.

Figures released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department revealed non-farm payrolls increased by 227,000 jobs last month, the largest gain in four months.

Working in Trump's favor, however, are an economy and a job market that remain on fundamentally sound footing.

The "real" unemployment rate, otherwise known as the U-6 measure, was 9.4 percent in January, which increased from 9.2 percent in the previous month. According to the Wall Street Journal, a rising unemployment rate could "suggest [that] workers who dropped out of the labor force are returning and that the labor market has yet to reach full strength". The modest rise in manufacturing employment points to stabilization in the sector, after a subdued performance for much of the past year, while the strong increase in services is likely a rebound from the unexpected weakness in December. "That is why today's solid job addition of 227,000 is very comforting". Manufacturing grew only by 5,000 jobs, according to the report.

President Barack Obama's term from January 2009-17 saw the number of people with jobs increase by 11.25 million.

For a president who's touted job creation as an nearly singular priority, faster-than-expected job growth is bound to be a pretty irresistible talking point. Average hourly earnings are up 2.5 percent over the past year, marking a setback from the showing in December's initial report. "The unemployment rate is holding pretty steady, under five percent".

Chair Janet Yellen has liked to remind us that one month's data should basically be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. That's still a big if at the moment.

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