In part because of the recent partial government shutdown, the national unemployment rate also ticked up in January to 4 percent, with 6.5 million people unemployed across the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $27.56, following a 10-cent gain in December.
Within healthcare, ambulatory healthcare services showed the most employment growth last month, adding 22,100 jobs.
According to the Labor Department, the government shutdown did not adversely impact the higher jobless rate. This figure comes from a survey in which the Labor Department asks employers (both private sector and government) how many people were on the payroll for the pay period that includes January 12.
That increased the size of the labor force, driving the closely watched labor force participation rate up to 63.2 percent, its highest level in more than five years. Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry added 74,000 jobs, while construction added 52,000 positions in January.
How did the USA government shutdown impact jobs numbers?
"That doesn't necessarily signal a dramatic change in the trend for the job market or the US economy".
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Most economists have forecast that the shutdown will likely slow economic growth for the first three months of this year. 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. They are counted as employed because they will receive back pay for the period.
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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.
The government added 8,000 jobs last month. Following revisions, job growth has averaged 241,000 per month over the last three months, with November revised up to 196,000 and December down to 222,000.
Professional and business services grew by 30,000 new jobs, Transportation and warehousing added 27,000 and retail trade added an additional 21,000.
"If the federal workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been slightly higher than reported", the Labor Department wrote in a note at the bottom of the January jobs report.
And for most of January, the weather was relatively warm in much of the United States, which likely boosted construction employment.
The average monthly gain for all of 2018 was 223,000.
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