America Created 304,000 Jobs in January, Smashing Estimates

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While the new jobs report was higher than expected, the jobs report for December was adjusted down by 70,000 jobs from 312,000 jobs created that month to 222,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 165,000 jobs in January.

The economy added 304,000 jobs in January, significantly more than economists had expected.

The numbers exclude farm work, which is seasonal and often volatile.

In the United States, jobs have now grown for a record 100 consecutive months, dating back to October 2010.

Job growth increased broadly in January. The Department of Labor reports this morning that employers in this country added 304,000 jobs last month.

The partial government shutdown caused 800,000 workers to miss two paychecks.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, said that many federal workers and contractors likely went out and found part-time work during the 35-day shutdown.

The 380,000 furloughed federal workers counted as "employed" in the Establishment Survey, which calculates payroll numbers, but unemployed in the Household Survey, which calculates unemployment rate. Education and health care added 55,000 jobs, retailers almost 21,000 and professional and business services, which includes such higher-paying positions as engineers and architects, 30,000. While employment grew, hourly wages dipped lower than usual with a 0.1% increase, less than the predicted 0.3% estimate.

Post-9/11 veterans saw a jump from 3.6 percent in December to 4.2 in January, the highest unemployment rate for this group since last May, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The average monthly gain for all of 2018 was 223,000. Job creation has been a particularly strong suit for the economy.

Hundreds of thousands of government workers were either left idle for most of the month or required to work without pay. This lifted the unemployment rate one-tenth of a percentage point from 3.9 percent in December. As a result, these workers were included in the January payrolls count in the survey of employers. The latter translates to an annual rate of 4.9 percent (and up 3.2 percent from December 2017).

China's economy is decelerating sharply and Italy's economy has entered recession, exacerbating fears that slower global growth will cut into US exports. The BLS noted that there was an increase in the unemployment rate as laid-off federal workers filed for benefits.

NOGUCHI: You're right. The longer term trend is what matters.

The average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours in January. Interestingly, there was a dramatic spike in the number of Americans working part-time jobs in January.