U.S. adds 304K jobs in January


Hourly pay grew a token 0.1 percent over December but was up 3.2 percent over January of a year ago, well above consumer inflation of 1.9 percent in the same period, leaving American workers with greater purchasing power. The unemployment rate rose to 4 percent, its highest level since June, which the Labor Department attributed to the impact of the shutdown. The wage number is long overdue, and the jobs number continues to outpace the underlying demography.

This metric is closely watched as a sign of the health of the labor market, since people who want to work full-time should be able to find jobs in such a "hot" market. Professional and business services employment increased by 30,000 jobs last month. Glassdoor saw a 10 percent bump in federal workers looking for jobs on its website two weeks after the government shutdown started - when they missed their first paychecks.

The solid jobs report provided a note of reassurance that the economy remains mostly healthy and likely to shake off any effects of the shutdown.

Before the jobs report had been announced, economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted that the country would add around 172,000 jobs. One of them is the payroll survey, which measures hiring. The shift in population controls had no impact on the unemployment and labor force participation rates.

Non-farm payrolls for December was revised from 312,000 to 222,000, while private payrolls was revised from 301,000 to 206,000. It also informs the headline earnings and hours worked data.

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Different methodologies for these complementary reports treat similarly situated individuals differently in some circumstances.

The healthcare sector was undeterred by the government shutdown that went on for most of January, making 41,600 new hires last month and almost 20,000 more new hires as compared to January 2018.

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. This boosted the unemployment numbers, but the federal employees' eventual return to work was not included as new jobs added. Some 426,000 were discouraged workers, who weren't looking for work because they believed no jobs are available for them, based on the BLS survey.

Job seekers line up to apply during "Amazon Jobs Day", a job fair being held at the Amazon.com Fulfillment Center in Fall River, Massachusetts, U.S., August 2, 2017.

Mining employment increased by 7,000. Market participants are keeping an eye on the average hourly earnings to see if we're going to get any inflationary pressures.