Hiring surged in January, with U.S. employers adding 225,000 jobs

Employers added a robust 225,000 jobs in January, bolstered by unusually warm weather. 

The nation’s unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6%, from 3.5%, as more people entered the labor force to look for work, the Labor Department said on Friday. Job gains were concentrated in health care, construction, transportation and warehousing, and leisure and hospitality.

“This is one of the best job markets in a generation,” Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain told CBS MoneyWatch ahead of the government’s latest employment report. 

However, Chamberlain noted that industries exposed to trade, including manufacturing, are “in a mild recession.” Manufacturing lost 12,000 jobs in January after being flat in December. 

Wages grow steadily

Workers’ average hourly wages in January rose 3.1% from a year ago, ticking up from their growth rate in December. While overall wage growth peaked last February, wages for the 82% of workers who are non-managers are still rising faster than the average.

Amy Glaser, a senior vice president at the staffing firm Adecco, said her clients were seeing wage increases “across the board.”

“Five years ago, my clients used to talk about lifting [hourly] wages by 15 cents, or a quarter — we were always talking in cents. Now we’re talking in dollars,” she said.

The Labor Department on Friday also issued its annual revisions for job growth for all of 2019. The revised labor for the U.S. population, and therefore the labor market, were smaller by half a million than previous estimates last year.

“[S]trong job creation and firming wage growth in January provided reassurance that the record-long economic expansion still has room to run,” analysts at Oxford Economics wrote in a note. “But this latest health report also points to a maturing labor market with 2019 job creation cooling to its slowest pace since 2011. Benchmark revisions indicate this labor market isn’t as youthful as it has pretended to be over the last two years.”

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