US Adds 517K Jobs in January, Far Outpacing 2022’s Average

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The U.S. added 517,000 jobs in January — far above 2022’s average monthly gain of 401,000.

The additions were widely spread across several sectors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said in a Friday (Feb. 3) press release.

“The January jobs report surprised to the upside in a major way,” Curt Long, chief economist and vice president of research at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU), said in a statement emailed to PYMNTS. “Even acknowledging the typical volatility in January reports, the labor market is too hot to allow a recession for the time being.”

The top three sectors that saw gains in January were leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and healthcare. Government also saw a gain that was due in part to workers returning from a strike, the BLS said in the release.

Leisure and hospitality added 128,000 jobs during the month, led by food services and drinking places with 99,000 jobs and accommodation growing by 15,000.

“Employment in leisure and hospitality remains below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 495,000, or 2.9%,” the BLS said in the release.

The professional and business service sector added 82,000 employees, with professional, scientific and technical services accounting for 41,000 of those additions.

Making the third-largest gain during the month was government, a sector that added 74,000 jobs. Of these, 35,000 were in state government education, as university workers returned from a strike, according to the release.

The fourth sector that made notable gains in January was healthcare. Here, 58,000 jobs were created, including 30,000 in ambulatory healthcare services, 17,000 in nursing and residential care facilities and 11,000 in hospitals.

Other industries that outpaced the average job gains they made in 2022 were retail trade and construction.

Manufacturing employment, on the other hand, saw a gain of 19,000 jobs that was slower than the average of 33,000 it had gained each month in 2022.

The other industries saw little or no change during the month, according to the release.

The unemployment rate stood at 3.4% in January. The BLS said in the release that the unemployment rate has shown little net movement since early 2022.

Commenting on the BLS report, Glassdoor Lead Economist and Senior Manager of Data Science Daniel Zhao told CNBC: “Today’s report is an echo of 2022’s surprisingly resilient job market, beating back recession fears.”

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