Labor market posts huge growth

Latest figures shatter expectations

Labor market posts huge growth

The US economy added 353,000 jobs in January, surging past market expectations as wages jumped and the unemployment rate held steady.

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that jobs growth had rocketed above the uptick of 185,000 expected by the Dow Jones, with the unemployment rate coming in lower than anticipated at 3.7%.

Average hourly earnings were up by 4.5% on a yearly basis compared with expectations of a 4.1% increase, rising by 0.6% compared with the previous month.

The professional and business services sector contributed strongly to January’s labor market growth, adding 74,000 jobs, with employment in health care rising by 70,000 and retail trade tacking on 45,000 jobs.

The news marks a further indication of the US economy’s resilience amid high interest rates and an uncertain economic outlook, with job gains for December also revised upward.

An additional 117,000 jobs were created that month compared with the earlier estimate, meaning the labor market added 333,000 jobs to close out the year. November also saw upward revision by 9,000 jobs, bringing its figure for jobs added to 182,000.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to begin lowering interest rates at some point in 2024 – although the unexpected January jobs surge could throw its potential timeline for rate cuts into question.

The Fed left rates unchanged in its first meeting of the year this week (January 30-31), but gave little indication of when it’s prepared to start bringing rates down.

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