The U.S. economy gained 225,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 3.6%, according to figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the year, wages were up 3.1%. This was very tepid wage growth for this level of unemployment, and shows the labor market has not reached full employment.
In response to the January job numbers, AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs tweeted:
Since last January, @BLS_gov reports wages were up 3.1% for all workers. This is modest for this point in a recovery with sustained low unemployment rates. @AFLCIO There is clear room for the @federalreserve to hold its policy as we remain far from indicators of escalating wages— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020
Construction had continued gains, +44,000 for January, but manufacturing showed losses, led by a drop of 10,600 in autos and auto parts. Retail trade continued weakness, led by drops in department stores -16,900. And transportation showed gains led by messengers +14,300 @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020
After many months where the adult white and Latino male unemployment rates were equal, the unemployment rate for Latinos jumped to 3.4% from 3.0%, while the white rate barely edged up from 2.8 to 2.9% @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020
The unemployment rate for non-veteran women fell since last January from 4.0 to 3.7%, but rose for women veterans from 2.7 to 3.2% (it fell for male veterans) mostly because of a jump for the most recent Gulf War II era veterans. @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020
226,000 jobs was a good number, but job gains (moving to the right in the chart) were not broad across all industries. The Education & Health sector continued to be the strongest. Higher (moving up in the chart) and lower wage industries were mixed in gains and losses @AFLCIO pic.twitter.com/I8RRNn8pkd— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020
January is a trigger date for many states to automatically adjust their minimum wages. Average wages for retail trade jumped 4.1% since last January and 3.4% for leisure & hospitality (food services mostly) compared to the 1.5% in education & health (an average wage industry).— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020
In a good sign for January, more women who were unemployed in December found a job (844,000) than quit looking and dropped out of the labor force (701,000); and the 2.633 million who found jobs, from having been out of the labor force, were 75% of net gains in women's employment.— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020
Payroll employment +226,000 in January, @BLS_gov reports that their benchmark estimate for job gains in 2019 were revised downward by 12,000 from previous reports. There were also adjustments to the household survey effecting the counts of employed and work force size. @AFLCIO— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020
January proves December was no fluke, women remain the majority of US workers. Education & health (77.4% female) a sector with 24.5 million workers is almost twice the size of the male dominated (72.3% male) manufacturing sector (12.8 million workers) and comparable average wages— William E. Spriggs (@WSpriggs) February 7, 2020
Last month's biggest job gains were in construction (44,000), health care (36,000), leisure and hospitality (36,000), transportation and warehousing (28,000) and professional and business services (21,000). Manufacturing declined (-12,000). Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities and government, changed little over the month.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (12.2%), blacks (6.0%), Hispanics (4.3%), adult men (3.3%), adult women (3.2%), whites (3.1%) and Asians (3.0%) showed little or no change in January.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged in January and accounted for 19.9% of the unemployed.