World Economy

US Sees Surge in Jobs, But Wage Gains Disappoint

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.8%.The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.8%.

The US economy added 227,000 jobs in January, above economists’ expectations of 180,000. This extends the record streak of job creation in the US.

However, wages in January rose by just 2.5% year-over-year, below expectations of 2.7%, Business Insider reported. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics survey reference period that the job growth numbers are based on is the pay period including the 12th of the month. Therefore, technically, this jobs report looks at numbers from the final days of the Obama administration. At the same time, various sentiment indicators have ticked up in the months after Trump’s election, suggesting that the new president may have influenced these figures.

“The US economy is riding a wave of bullish consumer sentiment right now, not uncommon following presidential elections in the past,” Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor, wrote after the report.

“However, technically today’s BLS survey is for the pay period containing the 12th of the month, about a week before the presidential inauguration. So it doesn’t likely reflect any actions since the Trump administration formally took office–something we’ll be watching for closely in the coming months.”

Additionally, the labor force participation rate ticked up to 62.9% from 62.7%, but is still near the lowest levels in decades. An analysis by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers suggested that about half of the decline had come from structural, demographic factors, with the baby boomers starting to retire, while the other from cyclical factors related to the Great Recession.

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.8%, following the prior month’s reading of 4.7%.

Most analysts had been gearing up for a solid jobs report, with consensus expectations for nonfarm payrolls to increase by about 175,000. However, some folks argued the report could surprise on the upside given solid economic data in the past week.

“Data in the past week, however, have introduced some upside risk and thus another 200k+ payroll print cannot be excluded,” wrote a TD Securities US strategy team led by Michael Hanson, chief of US macro strategy, in a note to clients.


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