Despite Shutdown, Jobs Went Up In January

US employers added 304,000 jobs in January, soaring past expectations

The second-longest streak was from 1986 to 1990, when employers added jobs for 48 straight months.

Economists said the robust job growth was likely more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate heading downward.

The strong showing represents almost a doubling of the 165,000 jobs economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected would be added to in January.

The healthy gain the government reported Friday illustrated the job market's durability almost a decade into the economic expansion.

Wage growth has still remained a concern, with growth staying slow despite improvements over the a year ago.

Average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers rose by three cents to $27.56 per hour in January, after a 10-cent gain in December.

For the full year of 2018, the average monthly jobs gain was 223,000.

The 35-day partial government shutdown, which ended January 25, affected hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors.

The government also said the unemployment rate rose to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, but mostly for a technical reason: Roughly 175,000 federal workers were counted as temporarily unemployed because of the shutdown. That left the annual increase in wages at 3.2 percent. "It's our job to educate our clients about the labor market".

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With key data from the Commerce Department, including the fourth-quarter gross domestic product report, still delayed because of the government shutdown, the employment report is the clearest sign that the economy remains on solid ground.

Nonfarm payrolls jumped by 304,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since February 2018, the Labor Department said.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning.

Yet strong hiring should boost household incomes, fueling more consumer spending, which would help drive economic growth. That's way beyond what analysts were expecting.

Employment in health care increased by 42,000 in January. The unemployment rate rose to 4 percent, its highest level since June, which the Labor Department attributed to the impact of the shutdown. "The government shutdown is confusing because you have all these jobs being created, but the unemployment rate going higher because you have these people being included in number one and not the other". The number is considered to be far ahead as compared to the forecasts. So there are two separate surveys.

Teresa Carroll, an executive at the staffing firm Kelly Services, said her company has explained to many clients that they have to pay more to find the workers they need. But since Congress agreed to pay these workers retroactively, they were employed. Federal contractors that did not work due to the shutdown would not be counted. Interestingly, there was a dramatic spike in the number of Americans working part-time jobs in January. This lifted the unemployment rate one-tenth of a percentage point from 3.9 percent in December. But that effect is likely temporary. The furloughed federal workers were still on the payroll that day, even though they were not getting paid. This group accounted for 19.3% of all unemployed people. Job growth was boosted by hiring at construction sites, retailers and business services as well as at restaurants, hotels and amusement parks. And so we'll have to wait to see more data. Almost all of this increase occurred in the private sector and may reflect the impact of the partial federal government shutdown. How does that fit into the overall employment trajectory?

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

The dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies as traders focused on the tepid monthly wage gain. And that's great news for workers because that lack of available workforce means that employers have to pay more. In the 100th consecutive month of job growth, average hourly earnings were up 3.2 percent over the previous year.

What do the United States jobs numbers mean for Wall Street?

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