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2017 off to a good start with surge in new jobs

US Jobs Report – January 2017

2017 off to a good start with surge in new jobs

US Jobs Report

On Friday, February 3, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly employment situation report for January, which is a widely used indicator for the health of the labor market. The first employment report of the New Year met with better than expected job growth as the unemployment rate remained near a nine-year low.

Key Insights:

  • U.S. adds 227,000 new jobs in January to mark the largest gain in four months
  • The unemployment rate rises slightly to 4.8% at the start of 2017 mostly because more people were looking for work
  • The labor force participation rate ticked up slightly to 62.8% 
  • The size of the labor force was relatively unchanged with a slight increase of 76,000 people
  • 4th-quarter GDP slowed to an annual rate of 1.9%, primarily due to a wider trade deficit

The three-month average rose from 148,000 to 183,000 in January while the trailing twelve-month average was little changed at 195,000. This reports marks the 76th straight month of continuous job growth.

Retail trade employment increased by 46,000 over the month and by 229,000 over the year. Three industries added jobs in January--clothing and clothing accessories stores (+18,000), electronics and appliance stores (+8,000), and furniture and home furnishings stores (+6,000).

Employment in construction rose by 36,000 in January, following little change in December. Residential building added 9,000 jobs over the month, and employment continued to trend up among residential specialty trade contractors (+11,000). Over the past 12 months, construction has added 170,000 jobs.

Financial activities added 32,000 jobs in January, with gains in real estate (+10,000), insurance carriers and related activities (+9,000), and credit intermediation and related activities (+9,000). Financial activities added an average of 15,000 jobs per month in 2016.

In January, employment in professional and technical services rose by 23,000, about in line with the average monthly gain in 2016. Over the month, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+13,000).

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in January (+30,000). This industry added 286,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Employment in health care also continued to trend up in January (+18,000), following a gain of 41,000 in December. The industry has added 374,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

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

Want to know more about the top trends in the job market? Check out the US Labor Market Update from Monster Intelligence.

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