U.S. Economy Adds 467,000 Jobs in January, December Revised Upward
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its January jobs, which included some major surprises. First, the latest report shows that the economy added 467,000 jobs during the month. This far exceeded the 150,000 economists had projected — with some even bracing for a negative number — due to the impacts of the Omicron variant. To that point, 7.8 million workers report that they missed time from work in January due to illness. Despite the added jobs in January, the unemployment rate ticked up for the month. It now stands at 4.0% compared to 3.9% in December.
Elsewhere in the report, while December 2021 was initially reported to have added a disappointing 199,000 jobs, that figure has now been significantly revised. Instead, the Labor Department now says that 510,000 jobs were added in the last month of the year. Moreover, November’s jobs figures were also revised to show a gain of 647,000 compared to the originally recorded 249,000.
January also saw average wages on the rise. During the month, the average hourly earnings climbed by 23¢ to reach $31.63. Year over year, wages have now increased 5.7%. Unfortunately, that’s still below the 7% 12-month inflation rate reported by the BLS.
With these adjustments and the January report, 6.6 million jobs have been added during President Joe Biden’s first 12 months — the most of any first-year president. Biden tops previously record-holder Jimmy Carter, who saw the economy add 3.4 million jobs during his first year, while Bill Clinton moves to third with 2.8 million. As CNN Money notes, Donald Trump’s first year brought 2 million new jobs.
Offering commentary on the results, Indeed Hiring Lab economic research director Nick Bunker told Marketwatch, “The economic fallout from each successive wave of the pandemic has been smaller and smaller. This trend, along with strong demand for workers, suggests 2022 could be a year with continued strong gains for the labor market.”
Independent Advisor Alliance chief investment officer Chris Zaccarelli noted that the results could impact other parts of the economy, explaining, “The strong jobs report is good news for the economy and American workers. Unfortunately for the stock market it should add to concerns that the Federal Reserve is going to be forced to raise rates more quickly and to a higher level.”
As Zaccarelli alludes to, the U.S. economy continues to be a complicated matter at the moment. Further illustrating this, while the added jobs numbers are strong, businesses reportedly still have 10.9 million openings. Because of this, in spite of the low unemployment number, it could be some time before the economy feels “normal.”