USA employers added a robust 304,000 in January

The US economy added 304,000 jobs in January a surprisingly strong month

The US economy added 304,000 jobs in January a surprisingly strong month

The U.S. labor market addest a robust 304,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in January, bucking concerns that a volatile market and the 35-day partial government shutdown would significantly affect job growth. 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.The ongoing demand for workers is leading some businesses to offer higher pay to attract and keep staff.

Private economists had expected an increase of about 170,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to be unchangedat 3.9 percent.

The average hourly earnings also increased by 3.2 percent year-on-year. And last month, you saw average hourly earnings increase by an annual rate of 3.2 percent. Mortgage rates have fallen back after almost touching 5 percent previous year, but the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes still declined in December.

The federal government was shut down for the survey period covered by the January jobs report.

December's blockbuster employment report was revised downward to 222,000 jobs from 312,000.

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

MARTIN: So does that mean the job market, basically, escaped largely unscathed because of the shutdown last month?

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Though Jacumin, 42, and her husband both have Navy pensions, her new job has provided much-needed income and health insurance.

MARTIN: So explain how it seems to indicate that the government shutdown, which affected 800,000 federal workers, that had virtually no effect on the job market. Some employers are still reluctant to offer higher pay, which has made it harder for them to find and keep workers, she said.

But in a separate survey of households that's used to calculate the unemployment rate, many of these people were counted as temporarily jobless. The federal government itself also spent less.

Professional and business services grew by 30,000 new jobs, Transportation and warehousing added 27,000 and retail trade added an additional 21,000.

"So, what we'll say if we were to see that negative number is, 'Well, sure it was negative this, but if you adjust for the furlough, it looks like another plus-200 month, '" Council of Economic Advisers chairman Kevin Hassett told reporters last month. But the government shutdown caused, you know, some delays in other economic reports.

And hiring seems to have picked up notably in the past two months.

"I am right now planning our first family vacation in three years", she said. January marks the 100th straight month of job growth. The unemployment rate is so low at this point that there are just fewer people who don't already have jobs.

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