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The January Jobs Report: What is the Current US Employment Situation?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly overview of the US employment situation and the data for January looks encouraging. The labor department jobs report examines a range of US jobs data to gauge the overall health of the US economy, specifically the number of jobs added, the unemployment rate, and what industries are hiring now.


Last Month’s Numbers

Before we get to the January jobs report, let’s revisit December’s US job numbers. Last month, the BLS reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 145,000 jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.5% (approximately 5.8 million professionals). A deeper look at the US jobs data and industries hiring in 2019 showed promising growth in a few areas while others declined or registered no change at all.

  • Retail – 41,000 jobs added
  • Healthcare – 28,000 jobs added
  • Leisure and hospitality – 40,000 jobs added
  • Construction – 20,000 jobs added
  • Mining – 8,000 jobs lost
  • Transportation and warehousing, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and government – no change


This Month’s Numbers

The January jobs report showed total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 225,000, unemployment rose very slightly to 3.6%, and the number of unemployed persons grew to 5.9 million.

Here are some other highlights of the labor department jobs report:

  • The number of long-term unemployed was unchanged (1.2 million) and accounts for 19.9% of the unemployed.
  • The labor force participation rate increased by 0.2% to 63.4%.
  • The number of people employed part time for economic reasons (AKA involuntary part-time workers) increased slightly to 4.2 million.
  • Average hourly earnings for all employees on nonfarm payrolls rose by $0.07 to $28.44 after increasing by $0.03 in December. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1%.

January saw promising growth for a few industries hiring in 2020. Bolstered by specialty trade contractors, construction led the way with 44,000 jobs added in January. We also saw employment growth in health care, transportation and warehousing, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services in January:

  • Construction – 44,000 jobs added
  • Health care – 36,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing – 28,000 jobs added
  • Leisure and hospitality – 36,000 jobs added
  • Professional and business services – 21,000 jobs added

Key industries like manufacturing, mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities, and government saw little change.

Overall, the labor department jobs report suggests the economy is in good shape. Whether you’re looking for top talent or searching for your dream job, there’s still plenty of opportunity out there, and you can find it on iHire.

By Sarah Ballow, iHire | February 07, 2020