WASHINGTON - New U.S. jobs in January far surpassed expectations according to the Department of Labor's latest report, as 225,000 jobs were created in the month.
“For the 23rd consecutive month, the unemployment rate was at or below 4%. At 3.6%, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly as more Americans entered the labor force," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. "The labor force participation rate moved up to the highest point since 2013.
Dow Jones economists had predicted a gain of 158,000 and unemployment rate to stay at 3.5 percent. Unemployment's 0.1 percent rise is good say economists, agreeing with Scalia as more people are re-entering the workforce.
Most of the gain came from construction, which was aided by good weather. 44,000 jobs were created in the sector - considerably more than 2019's 12,000.
Manufacturing took a hit however, mostly owing to a loss in motor vehicles in parts. 12,000 positions were lost.
Leisure, hospitality, and healthcare added 36,000. Transportation and warehousing increased by 28,000.
The average wage also increased. Hourly earnings rose 3.1 percent from a year ago to $28.44. Analysts had predicted a 3 percent growth. January marked the 18th consecutive month of wage gains above 3 percent.
The average work week remains low at just over 34 hours.
“Notable job gains occurred in construction, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing,” the Labor Department said in a press release. Most of the construction “gain occurred in specialty trade contractors, with increases in both the residential (+18,000) and nonresidential (+17,000) components."
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