US Jobs Reported Growth Despite Government Shutdown

John Blanding  Globe Staff  File

John Blanding Globe Staff File

December's surprisingly strong report was revised down from 312,00 jobs to a more modest, but still strong, 222,000 jobs.

Some of the best forecasters in the country had predicted job gains of about 170,000, a substantially lower figure.

"We expect the labor market to gradually cool in 2019 but the combination of solid payroll gains, rising wages and falling unemployment rate will continue", Oxford Economics said in a client note.

The numbers exclude farm work, which is seasonal and often volatile.

It marks the 100th month in a row the U.S. Has seen job growth. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that it lowered annual growth for the January-March quarter by about 0.4 percentage point, to a rate of 2.1 percent.

This shift is largely due to the partial government shutdown.

The 380,000 furloughed federal workers counted as "employed" in the Establishment Survey, which calculates payroll numbers, but unemployed in the Household Survey, which calculates unemployment rate.

Job gains in January were led by the leisure and hospitality sector, which has added 410,000 jobs over the past year. "Nearly all of this increase occurred in the private sector and may reflect the impact of the partial federal government shutdown", it said. Average hourly earnings in the leisure and hospitality sector have risen almost 4% over the past year, compared to 3.2% for the workforce as a whole. That's likely to keep the Federal Reserve unlikely to raise interest rates in the coming months, economists said.

The healthcare sector was undeterred by the government shutdown that went on for most of January, making 41,600 new hires last month and almost 20,000 more new hires as compared to January 2018. The central bank, which raised rates four times past year, did not raise rates and cited "global economic and financial developments" and low US inflation as reasons to be patient before changing rates again. Mortgage rates have fallen back after almost touching 5 percent previous year, but the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes still declined in December.

USA job growth surged in January, with employers hiring the most workers in 11 months, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite an uncertain outlook that has left the Federal Reserve wary about more interest rate hikes this year. Since President Trump was elected in November 2016, the US economy has created over 5 million jobs. Now that the shutdown has ended, these people will go back to being counted as having just one job beginning in February.

The string of job growth underscored the long economic expansion since the Great Recession.

"Blockbuster job number distorted by workers forced to accept part time employment to make ends meet during government shutdown".

"I am right now planning our first family vacation in three years", she said.

The December jobs report was a series of numbers that range from fantastic to fantastical. And this latest data doesn't actually change the monthly average very much.

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