3 things to know about the January 2019 jobs report

BLS jobs report 4

Job growth outpaced predictions, while unemployment crept upward.

The U.S. economy added 304,000 jobs in January, considerably more than the median estimate of 172,000, according to The New York Times.

Here are some of the highlights from the report.

1. Lots of new jobs in January

With the addition of 304,000 new jobs in January, American employers have added jobs for 100 consecutive months.

MarketWatch: “The U.S. gained 304,000 new jobs in January — the biggest increase in almost a year — in another show of strength for an economy that’s still growing soundly even in the face of more headwinds.”

Bloomberg: “Hiring jumped by the most in almost a year, topping all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists, albeit after a downward revision to the prior month, a Labor Department report showed Friday.”

USA Today: “Mildly disappointing: Employment gains from November and December were revised down by a total 70,000. November's was upgraded from 176,000 to 196,000 but December's blockbuster 312,000 was revised down to 222,000, which was still a strong showing.”

2. The shutdown’s (unclear) impact

Though the federal government was shut down during most of January, it appeared to not have much of an effect on labor market growth.

The Washington Post: “The shutdown had no impact on the 304,000 jobs number. This figure comes from a survey in which the Labor Department asks employers (both private sector and government) how many people were on the payroll for the pay period that includes Jan. 12. The furloughed federal workers were still on the payroll that day, even though they were not getting paid. The Labor Department still counted them as employed because the workers were going to be paid eventually.”

Business Insider: “[The shutdown] probably didn't directly affect the headline number of hiring figures. But it could show up in the unemployment rate, which is based on a survey of households rather than employers. Indirect effects, such as contractors and private-sector employees losing work because of the shutdown, could be less clear.”

ABC News: “An additional 5.1 million people were working part-time involuntarily, also possibly attributed to the shutdown, according to the BLS report.”

3. Unemployment slightly increased

The government shutdown didn’t have much of an effect on jobs numbers, which is based on employer reporting, but it may have impacted the unemployment rate, which is determined by responses from workers, rather than employers.

The Washington Post: “The shutdown did affect the unemployment rate, which ticked up to 4 percent. The unemployment rate rose in January (up from 3.9 percent in December), and that’s largely because of the shutdown. The Labor Department calculates the unemployment rate by using a different survey — known as the household survey — where they literally knock on the doors of some people’s homes and ask how many adults are employed and how many are unemployed.”

Yahoo! Finance: “The unemployment rate rose to 4.0%, largely due to the government shutdown, which had government workers identifying themselves as temporarily laid off. December’s unemployment rate was left unchanged at 3.9%. The rise in January’s unemployment rate was also due in part to an increase in the labor force participation rate, which climbed to 63.2% from 63.1% in December.”

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