January's favorable weather helped job growth accelerate to 227,000 over the month, up from a revised 157,000 jobs in December and more than the 187,000 average monthly job gain in all of 2016. January's increase in jobs was also the largest since last September. The private sector actually gained a stronger 237,000 jobs, but that was offset by a loss of 10,000 public sector jobs from state and local governments.
During January, some of the healthiest job gains came from the retail sector (up 46,000) and leisure/hospitality (up 34,000). The retail sector, however, added fewer jobs than normal during the holiday season and may therefore have laid off fewer employees in January. And thanks to the mild winter, construction jobs were able to grow by 36,000 over the month. Healthcare, professional services, and the financial sector also showed solid job growth. Manufacturing and mining jobs grew by a combined 9,000 in January, turning around after declines through much of last year.
The unemployment rate ticked up a bit to 4.8% in January from 4.7% in December. Here too, the underlying reason was a largely positive one: the labor market increased as more people chose to look for jobs. An unemployment rate below 5% also suggests that the labor market is nearing full employment.
One disappointment in the January job report, however, was the lack of wage growth. As of January, minimum wages in several states rose, creating expectations for a hike in wages over the month. Instead, average hourly earnings gained just 0.1%, softening the year-over-year increase to 2.5% from 2.8% at the end of last year.
: Dodge Data & Analytics is a technology-driven construction project data, analytics and insights provider. Dodge provides trusted market intelligence that helps the construction industry and professionals grow their business, and is redefining and recreating the business tools and processes on which the industry relies. Dodge is creating an integrated platform that unifies and simplifies the design, bid and build process, bringing data on people, projects and products into a single hub for the entire industry, from building product manufacturers to contractors and specialty trades to architects and engineers. The company's products include Dodge Global Network, Dodge PlanRoom, Dodge PipeLine, Dodge SpecShare, Dodge BuildShare, Dodge MarketShare, and the Sweets family of products. To learn more, visit www.construction.com.
: Benjamin Gorelick | Spector & Associates +1-212-943-5858, email@example.com
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