US Job Growth Beats Estimates in January

US nonfarm payrolls increased by 257,000 last month after a upwardly revised 329,000 rise in December. Meanwhile, the jobless rate edged up to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent as more unemployed started looking for work.

Job gains occurred in retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities, and manufacturing. After incorporating revisions for November and December (which include the impact of the annual benchmark process), monthly job gains averaged 336,000 over the past 3 months, the biggest three-month gain in 17 years.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +353,000 to +423,000, and the change for December was revised from +252,000 to +329,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December were 147,000 higher than previously reported.

Employment in retail trade rose by 46,000 in January. Three industries accounted for half of the jobs added--sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+9,000); motor vehicle and parts dealers (+8,000); and nonstore retailers (+6,000). 

Construction continued to add jobs (+39,000). Employment increased in both residential and nonresidential building (+13,000 and +7,000, respectively). Employment continued to trend up in specialty trade contactors (+13,000). Over the prior 12 months, construction had added an average of 28,000 jobs per month. 

Health care employment increased by 38,000. Job gains occurred in offices of physicians (+13,000), hospitals (+10,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+7,000). Health care added an average of 26,000 jobs per month  in 2014.

Employment in financial activities rose by 26,000, with insurance  carriers and related activities (+14,000) and securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000) contributing to the gain. Financial activities has added 159,000 jobs over the past 12 months. 

Manufacturing employment increased by 22,000, including job gains in motor vehicles and parts (+7,000) and wood products (+4,000). Over the past 12 months, manufacturing has added 228,000 jobs. 

Professional and technical services added 33,000 jobs, including increases in computer systems design (+8,000) and architectural and engineering services (+8,000).

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up (+35,000). In 2014, the industry added an average of 33,000 jobs per month.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little change over the month.

US Job Growth Beats Estimates in January

Anna Fedec |
2/6/2015 1:56:37 PM