02/08/17

US Economy adds 227K jobs in January


The U.S. economy added a robust 227,000 jobs in January while the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8 percent.

The first jobs report of the Trump administration, released Friday morning, showed that the labor market is maintaining its long expansion after President Obama's departure at the end of last month, the 76th consecutive month of job growth.

President Trump has vowed to bring jobs back to the United States and accelerate the nation's economic growth.

“Today's jobs report is good news,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said in a statement.

“Our economy is gaining some ground but we have a lot of work ahead of us to get our economy running at full speed.”

Trump has yet to name any economists for the three-member Council of Economic Advisers, which provides the White House with economic advice and typically provides analysis for the monthly jobs report.

The council's chairman, formerly Jason Furman, must be confirmed by the Senate.

"While there’s a great deal of anticipation surrounding steps that President Trump and the GOP-led Congress are expected to take to boost the economy, that’s going to take more time," said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com's senior economic analyst.  

"The potential benefits of tax cuts and spending on improvement of roads and other infrastructure components remain months away," Hamrick said.

The new jobs figures show that Obama handed Trump a healthy labor market despite the new president’s protestations of how the numbers are reported. During the campaign, Trump called the monthly unemployment rate a “hoax” and argued it’s much higher than reported.

“It’s too soon to say what impact the Trump administration has had on the job market,” said Gus Faucher, PNC’s deputy chief economist.

“We will have a better sense of how the job market has responded to President Trump by the middle of 2017,” Faucher said.

Although the jobless rate ticked up last month it was because more Americans were looking for work.

The labor force increased by 584,000 in January, and the participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent.

Total employment, as measured by the household survey, was up 457,000 last month.

The president is meeting on Friday with several of the nation’s top CEOs to discuss economic strategy.


The White House didn’t put out an official statement on the jobs report but Trump said ahead of his meeting that the January figures show a "great spirit in the country right now, so we're very happy about that, I think that it's going to continue big league.”

But Trump has already lost one top executive in Uber head Travis Kalanick, who left the newly created business advisory council after pressure mounted over the president's immigration ban.

Several other business leaders, including Telsa’s Elon Musk, said they planned to “express objections to the recent executive order on immigration" at the White House meeting.

Hourly earnings didn’t budge much last month — up a disappointing 0.1 percent — and they have risen 2.5 percent over the year.

"The wages story here falls in the disappointing column, with average hourly earnings up 2.5 percent over the past year,” Hamrick said.

“The setback runs contrary to the continued overall improvement in the job market and the fact that 19 states increased their minimum wages on Jan. 1,” he said.

The private-sector added 237,000 jobs in January, while the government shed 10,000 jobs.

Mining, which has struggled over the past two years, added 4,000 jobs, the third straight month of modest growth in the sector.

Manufacturing added 5,000 jobs after hiring 11,000 in December.

Employment in construction rose by 36,000 in January and healthcare saw an 18,000 increase, adding 374,000 jobs in the past 12 months.

Retail hired 46,000 and a total of 229,000 over the year with three industries adding jobs in January — clothing and clothing accessories stores (18,000), electronics and appliance stores (8,000), and furniture and home furnishings stores (6,000).

Financial activities added 32,000 jobs in January, with 10,000 job gains in real estate.

Restaurants hired 30,000 last month.

December’s figures were revised downward to 164,000 from 204,000 while November's now sit at 157,000, 39,000 less in total than previously reported.

Jobs gains have averaged 183,000 over the past three months.

Employment in construction rose by 36,000 in January and healthcare saw an 18,000 increase, adding 374,000 jobs in the past 12 months.

December’s figures were revised downward to 164,000 from 204,000 while November's now sit at 157,000.

Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent.




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