U.S. adds 225,000 jobs in January

Construction jobs rise while unemployment edges up to 3.6%.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The U.S. economy beat expectations and added 225,000 jobs in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

About 165,000 were expected for the month after an increase of 147,000 in December 2019. Notable gains occurred in construction, transportation and warehousing.

The change in employment for November was revised up by 5,000 from an increase of 256,000 to a gain of 261,000, and the change for December was revised up by 2,000 from up 145,000 to rising 147,000.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6% for January compared to 3.5% in December.

Construction employment rose by 44,000. Most of the gain occurred in specialty trade contractors, with increases in both the residential (+18,000) and nonresidential (+17,000) segments. Construction added an average of 12,000 jobs per month in 2019.

Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 28,000 in January. Job gains occurred in couriers and messengers (+14,000) and in warehousing and storage (+6,000). Over the year, employment in transportation and warehousing has increased by 106,000.

Manufacturing fell by 12,000 in January, but many of those positions were lost in automobile and parts manufacturing, which lost 11,000 jobs during the month.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities, and government, changed little over the month.

Commenting on the latest report, National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that he is eyeing a big leap in hiring for the remainder of the year.

“The unemployment rate remains at super-low levels across all ages, all ethnic groups, and every other grouping of workers. That’s due to the unrelenting 20 million net job additions for over a decade since 2010,” Yun said. “The current year started off with similar strength with 225,000 net new jobs in January, which will translate – if the pace holds – into a grand 2.7 million annualized job creations in 2020.”

Regarding construction jobs, Yun expects more growth and said that there is not enough housing for the growing economy.

“Fortunately, 44,000 new construction jobs were added in the latest month, which is one of the better monthly figures in the past decade. Even in commercial real estate, vacancy rates have tilted down, implying more construction is needed,” Yun noted.

He estimates that about 5 to 6 million housing units and much more construction is needed. “Workers in construction are earning $31.19 per hour on average. Government at all levels needs to incentivize young people who are not interested in college to seek vocational training.”

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $28.44. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1%. The average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees were $23.87 in January, increasing 3 cents.

The average workweek was unchanged at 34.3 hours in January. In manufacturing, the average workweek remained at 40.4 hours, while overtime edged down 0.1-hour to 3.1 hours. The average workweek of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged up by 0.1-hour to 33.6 hours.






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