Despite Shutdown, Jobs Went Up In January

03 February, 2019, 17:45 | Author: Brooke Harris
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The U.S. has been experiencing the longest streak of job gains on record.

Don't see the graphic above?

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

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.

Employment in construction and health care followed with 52,000 and 42,000 new jobs respectively. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the shutdown slowed annual growth for the January-March quarter by about 0.4 percentage point, to a rate of 2.1 percent, though that loss should lead to a bounce-back later this year. Average hourly earnings grew 3.2 percent over the past 12 months - matching December's increase. Workers earned an average of $27.56 an hour last month. The economy added 304,000 jobs in January despite some economic concerns and the federal government shutdown. Also worth noting was that the more than 300,000 federal workers who were furloughed had an impact on the reporting. Those workers were counted as employed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

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 Fed chickened out on further rate hikes this year and boy are they ever misreading the tea leaves on where the economy is going next", said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in NY. The rate hit a 49-year low of 3.7 percent in September and remained unchanged in October and November.

Last month's healthy job gain will assuage some concerns that had arisen about the USA economy. But thousands of government workers who missed two paychecks also cut back on their spending.

The American economy added 304,000 jobs in January.

MARTIN: What do these numbers show?

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The unemployment rate rose to 4.0% in January, but the BLS pointed out that rise from 3.9% was due to the government shutdown.

Another 450,000 federal employees were required to work during the shutdown without pay.

NOGUCHI: Yeah, it's a little confusing. It didn't affect the numbers because of some technicalities of who the government considered unemployed in January. So there are two separate surveys. One of them is the payroll survey, which measures hiring.

Yet even employers whose revenue dropped likely held onto their workers during January.

NOGUCHI: It did have an effect but a small one. They were not included in the unemployment rate, either.

How did the shutdown change the jobs report?

The federal government itself also spent less. And some of them were laid off. But then, you know, Rachel, the overall context is that unemployment is still very low.

Job seekers fill out applications at a job fair at the Denver Workforce Center in Denver, Colo., on February 15, 2017.

Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief this month as policymakers sent strong signals they meant to pause, meaning investors could be in for an unwelcome surprise.

"This is the sweet spot for investors right now", Long said.

On a monthly basis, from December to January, wages barely rose, though.


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