This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.
Job growth during the month of January bested expectations as nonfarm payrolls gained 304,000, according to the latest data from the Labor Department. Of that growth, the majority came from the leisure and hospitality as hiring in restaurants, bars and casino grew.
Leisure and hospitality accounted for 74,000 new jobs created with education and health services as well as construction rounding out the top three sectors.
"In January, employment grew in several industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing," the Labor Department said in a release. "Within the [leisure and hospitality] industry, job gains occurred in food services and drinking places and in amusements, gambling, and recreation."
Unemployment Slightly Higher
Despite the positive gain in jobs, the unemployment rate did tick higher to 4 percent.
“The labor force was little changed but the drop in employment was enough to lift the participation rate by a tenth to a new cycle high,” said Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “But the increase in participation in recent months is not enough yet to call a meaningful shift from the flat trend of the past few years, and we still expect unemployment to fall over the course of this year.”
Government officials noted that during the shutdown, federal workers were included as employed during the period because they received pay during the survey week of Jan. 12. In actuality, federal government employment rose by 1,000.
Economists who were surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting payrolls to rise by 170,000 while the unemployment rate would remain static at 3.9 percent.
Despite the strong rise in payrolls, average hourly earnings ticked higher by just 3 cents during January, which represented a rise of 0.1 percent–below the 0.3 percent expected. Nonetheless, this was still a 3.2 percent On a year-over-year increase.
Nonetheless, economists still emphasize the labor market is robust.
“Despite the uncertainty heading into today about how the recent federal government shutdown may impact the economy, today’s jobs report shows the nation’s labor market overall remained healthy in January, and employers are likely to continue today’s steady pace of hiring throughout the first half of 2019,” said Andrew Chamberlain, the chief economist at the career site Glassdoor.
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