U.S. job gains largest in 11 months; unemployment rate rises

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The United States economy saw its biggest job increase in almost a year, added 304,000 new jobs during the month of January, according to the Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 4%, its highest level since June, while average hourly earnings increased by 3.2% from a year earlier. The average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls increased three cents, to $27.56 last month.

"Today's jobs numbers show a strong and growing US economy", Brady said on Friday. That's just below the annual gain of 3.3 percent in December, which matched October and November for the fastest increase since April 2009. Workers have seen a streak of relatively robust gains as employers have had to pay more to attract them. That compared to an 85-cent increase at 3.2 percent over the year.

Companies that provide leisure and hospitality like hotels, restaurants, gambling, recreation, and others added 74,000 jobs in the month.

This shift is largely due to the partial government shutdown.

The jobs market continues to be strong.

How did the shutdown change the jobs report?

With key data from the Commerce Department, including the fourth-quarter gross domestic product report, still delayed because of the government shutdown, the employment report is the clearest sign that the economy remains on solid ground.

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Different job sectors contributed to U.S. job growth.

The US economy added more than 300,000 jobs in January despite the government shutdown, far ahead of forecasts.

The continued hot pace of job growth is evidence that people who may have been sidelined by the Great Recession more than a decade ago are still coming off the sidelines.

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

US employment numbers surged in January 2019, but wages stagnated in the latest US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). Notable gains occurred in the retail sector (21,000), transportation and warehousing (27,000), and education and health services (55,000). Some employers are still reluctant to offer higher pay, which has made it harder for them to find and keep workers, she said.

The unemployment rate did rise in January to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, the Labor Department said, but mostly for a technical reason: The number of people counted as temporarily unemployed jumped 175,000, with most of that increase consisting of federal workers and contractors affected by the shutdown.

Construction employment rose by 52,000. Following revisions, job growth has averaged 241,000 per month over the last three months, with November revised up to 196,000 and December down to 222,000.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc.

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