U.S. Outlook: A rock-solid payroll report for January

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

Job growth in January exceeded economists’ expectations (227K), adding some hard-data weight to rising spirits in recent consumer and business sentiment surveys.

Graph showing monthly job gains over last several years.Today’s release included benchmark job revisions for all of 2016 that showed a firmer pace of overall job gains for the year — a net 2.24 million nonfarm payroll jobs were created last year.

For more on these developments, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on Feb. 3.

Key observations:
  • More people are staying in the labor force; the labor force participation rate improved to 62.9% in January from 62.7% in December.
  • The average duration of unemployment fell to 25.1 weeks from 26 weeks in December.
  • The only drawback in the January payroll report was a disappointing slowdown in average hourly earning to just a 0.1% monthly gain in January.

Click here to read my full report.

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