January Jobs Report Shows 2014’s Strong Jobs Market Continuing Into New Year

The January Jobs Report showed that the trend of strong jobs growth we saw in 2014 appears to be continuing into the new year.

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January’s employment report is often a difficult one to gauge in advance because it happens to be the month that the Bureau of Labor Statistics introduces its new round of statistical revisions for the coming year, which in itself can often cause numbers to fluctuate wildly. Additionally, it’s often unclear what the impact of the end of the seasonable hiring for Christmas will end up being in the retail field. That notwithstanding, most analysts were expecting a strong report for January and the numbers didn’t disappoint:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 257,000 in January, and the unemployment rate  was little changed at 5.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities, and manufacturing.

The unemployment rate, at 5.7 percent, changed little in January and has shown no net change since October. The number of unemployed persons, at 9.0 million, was little
changed in January. (See table A-1. See the note at the end of this news release and tables B and C for information about annual population adjustments to the household
survey estimates.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers (18.8 percent) increased in January. The jobless rates for adult men (5.3 percent), adult women
(5.1 percent), whites (4.9 percent), blacks (10.3 percent), Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (6.7 percent) showed little or no change. (See tables A-1, A-2,
and A-3.)

TheIn January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 2.8 million. These individuals accounted for 31.5 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed is down by 828,000. (See table A-12.)

(…)

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 257,000 in January. Job gains occurred in retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities, and manufacturing. After incorporating revisions for November and December (which include the impact of the annual benchmark process), monthly job gains averaged 336,000 over the past
3 months. (See table B-1 and summary table B. See the note at the end of this news release and table A for information about the annual benchmark process.)

Employment in retail trade rose by 46,000 in January. Three industries accounted for half of the jobs added–sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+9,000);
motor vehicle and parts dealers (+8,000); and nonstore retailers (+6,000).

Construction continued to add jobs in January (+39,000). Employment increased in both residential and nonresidential building (+13,000 and +7,000, respectively).
Employment continued to trend up in specialty trade contactors (+13,000). Over the prior 12 months, construction had added an average of 28,000 jobs per month.

In January, health care employment increased by 38,000. Job gains occurred in offices of physicians (+13,000), hospitals (+10,000), and nursing and residential
care facilities (+7,000). Health care added an average of 26,000 jobs per month in 2014.

Employment in financial activities rose by 26,000 in January, with insurance carriers and related activities (+14,000) and securities, commodity contracts,
and investments (+5,000) contributing to the gain. Financial activities has added 159,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Manufacturing employment increased by 22,000 over the month, including job gains in motor vehicles and parts (+7,000) and wood products (+4,000). Over the past
12 months, manufacturing has added 228,000 jobs.

Professional and technical services added 33,000 jobs in January, including increases in computer systems design (+8,000) and architectural and engineering
services (+8,000).

In January, employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up (+35,000). In 2014, the industry added an average of 33,000 jobs per month.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little
change over the month.

The report also showed big revisions for the jobs numbers for both November and December. November’s job creation numbers were revised from +353,000 to +423,000, and December’s numbers were revised from +252,000 to +329,000. That gives us an average of 336,000 jobs created over the past three months, pending future revisions for both December and January. January’s number was also consistent with the average for 2014 as a whole, a year during which the economy added an average of 250,000 new jobs per month over the course of the year. That’s the strongest yearly jobs growth we’ve seen since Bill Clinton was President, and appears to be at least somewhat consistent with other statistics that show the economy as a whole growing steadily. The report also showed that Labor Force Participation edged up slightly off of a 38 year low, suggesting that people who had been sitting on the sidelines of labor market are starting to stick their toes back in the water and look for work, which itself seems to be the reason that both the U-3 and U-6 unemployment numbers edged up slightly last months notwithstanding the jobs growth.

There was also some slightly good news in another part of the monthly report that has drawn increasing attention, the numbers focusing on the length of the work week and average wages:

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.6 hours in January. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 41.0 hours, and factory overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 12 cents to $24.75, following a decrease of 5 cents in December. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent. In January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $20.80. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The uptick in hourly earnings follows several months of stagnation on that front and may signal the beginning of a trend in which wages will slowly inch up, a factor that, along with declining energy prices, is likely to help stimulate consumer spending. One caveat to these numbers, though, is the fact that the decline in energy prices has led several domestic energy providers to announce layoffs over the coming months that could end up impacting as many as 20,000 workers. If that comes to pass, or if further declines in energy prices lead these employers to slow operations down even further, then we could see that have an impact on overall jobs numbers. Of course, the positive economic impact of declining energy costs cold lead to expanded hiring in other sectors that offsets these losses, and the end of winter in the Midwest and Northeast is likely to lead to expanded hiring in the construction field as well. In any case, at least in the short term these are positive numbers that hopefully indicate that the strong jobs numbers we saw in 2014 will continue into 2015.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. SenyorDave says:

    Strong jobs report for January plus 149k upwards revision for Nov-Dec looks pretty good. Good wage growth for the month (would annualize to 4% increase), but unfortunately it comes after months of stagnation.

    I’m expecting a statement from Mitch McConnel to take credit for the good report in a few minutes.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    Thankfully, the trend continues. Since the depths of the great recession in 2009 we’ve had nearly 60 consecutive months of steadily increasing economic growth and improvement in the labor market.

    Yet more confirmation that Obama and the Federal Reserve took the right course of action back in 2009 – QE and stimulus has been the foundation of this steady recovery from the recession.

    Unfortunately, approximately half the people deny the empirical evidence of economic improvement.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Lucky thing Republicans won the mid-terms and got this economy back on track.
    /snark

  4. C. Clavin says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Unfortunately, approximately half the people deny the empirical evidence of economic improvement.

    Drew Guarnari will be along any second to tell us why this sucks.

  5. Rob Prather says:

    It’s a good report. I’m still concerned that the rest of the world is weak and that could impact us.

  6. Ben says:

    Unfortunately, wages continue to stagnate. They’ve been trapped at 2% since basically 2010. And it’s under 2% for non-managers:

    https://espnfivethirtyeight.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/casselman-datalab-febjobs-2.png

    Until wages start seeing some real increase, the middle class will remain squeezed and accumulating debt like crazy.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Ah, children, I remember the good old days when there was only one unemployment rate. It was way back in 2008 when we discovered there were lots of unemployment rates – more than enough to spin any tale a Republican wanted to spin. It was about that same time we discovered the stock market numbers suddenly didn’t matter.

    It was a simpler time back then.

    But before Drew Guarneri comes along to twist himself into an Auntie Anne’s pretzel, I just want to pick out one fact: employment up in auto manufacturing. Yeah, you remember: the auto industry we should have let die, and that was going to cost us bazillions forever in a doomed effort to keep a dying industry alive.

  8. Guarneri says:

    @C. Clavin:

    To the contrary, it was the electorate that cast aside the statistical jumbo jumbo and voted their true sentiments recently. You may have heard about it.

    Me? I’m just happy to know there are now plenty of waiters and bartenders to cater to my needs as we all sit around and take each other’s blood pressure. Otherwise, things are ” little changed.”

    Now I have to go from this fantasyland over to the Brian Williams Truth Lecture where he describes his efforts to increase wages in the RPG manufacturing sector by taking enemy fire. Hillary Clinton is next on the docket speaking to the National Association of Sniper Bullet Distributors. That’s in Vegas. Natch.

  9. humanoid.panda says:

    @Guarneri:

    Now I have to go from this fantasyland over to the Brian Williams Truth Lecture where he describes his efforts to increase wages in the RPG manufacturing sector by taking enemy fire. Hillary Clinton is next on the docket speaking to the National Association of Sniper Bullet Distributors. That’s in Vegas. Natch.

    Holy Change of Topic, Batman!

  10. humanoid.panda says:

    Like, I know that I should avoid doing this, but who gives a flying f*k about Brian Williams and his stories? Does the fact that he mis-remembered the incident changes the outcome of the war? Brings anyone back to life? Makes Iran less powerful? Pays the treasury some of the money spent in Iraq? Erases the disgraceful behavior of the media in the first couple of months of the Iraq adventure? Really, what is the WIN conservatives are celebrating here?

  11. humanoid.panda says:

    @<a href="#comment-1997869″>Guarneri: On topic, for a self-proclaimed master of the universe, you again display a profound ignorance of the actual figures: Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 257,000 in January. Job gains occurred in
    retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities, and manufacturing.
    After incorporating revisions for November and December (which include the impact of
    the annual benchmark process), monthly job gains averaged 336,000 over the past
    3 months. (See table B-1 and summary table B. See the note at the end of this news
    release and table A for information about the annual benchmark process.)

    Employment in retail trade rose by 46,000 in January. Three industries accounted
    for half of the jobs added–sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+9,000);
    motor vehicle and parts dealers (+8,000); and nonstore retailers (+6,000).

    Construction continued to add jobs in January (+39,000). Employment increased in
    both residential and nonresidential building (+13,000 and +7,000, respectively).
    Employment continued to trend up in specialty trade contactors (+13,000). Over the
    prior 12 months, construction had added an average of 28,000 jobs per month.

    In January, health care employment increased by 38,000. Job gains occurred in
    offices of physicians (+13,000), hospitals (+10,000), and nursing and residential
    care facilities (+7,000). Health care added an average of 26,000 jobs per month
    in 2014.

    Employment in financial activities rose by 26,000 in January, with insurance
    carriers and related activities (+14,000) and securities, commodity contracts,
    and investments (+5,000) contributing to the gain. Financial activities has added
    159,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

    Manufacturing employment increased by 22,000 over the month, including job gains
    in motor vehicles and parts (+7,000) and wood products (+4,000). Over the past
    12 months, manufacturing has added 228,000 jobs.

    Professional and technical services added 33,000 jobs in January, including
    increases in computer systems design (+8,000) and architectural and engineering
    services (+8,000).

    IN January, employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend
    up (+35,000). In 2014, the industry added an average of 33,000 jobs per month

    So, yes, healthcare kept expanding (the ACA didn’t kill of neither doctors nor their patients yet!) as did food industry, but so did all other major sectors. Additionally, the vast majority of jobs created this year were full-time jobs, while part-time jobs remained steady, implying that yes, people are slowly moving from temporary positions to higher paying, full-time ones.

  12. humanoid.panda says:

    @Guarneri: Going back on topic, for a self-proclaimed master of the universe, you reveal surprising ignorance of the economic data. Yes, healthcare kept expanding (somehow, the ACA killed neither doctors nor their patients) , so did food service. However, all other sectors, including high paid one like finance and tech, and more importantly, solid middel class ones: manufacturing and construction, also showed growth. More importantly, over the last 3 months, employment grew by one million, while unemployment rate rose slightly. This means that over one million people returned to the workforce!
    Another tidbit: in the last year, part-time employment remained constant, but about 3 million full time jobs were added. This implies that the story about the entirety of job growth coming from minimum wage jobs (that tend to be part-time) is simply wrong.

    The story, the best way we can tell it: we are in a midst of a real recovery, but wages are still held back by the huge army of the unemployed and underemployed created by the crisis. If, and this is a big if, global slowdown and a rising dollar won’t slow it down, that drag should dissipate by next year.. Will be nice to have a presidential campaign in the midst of full employment ..

  13. michael reynolds says:

    Shorter Guarneri: Squirrel!

  14. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:

    it was the electorate that cast aside the statistical jumbo jumbo and voted their true sentiments recently. You may have heard about it.

    Are you talking about the one in which newly elected Democratic Senators got 20M more votes than the newly elected Republican Senators? That election?

  15. humanoid.panda says:

    @C. Clavin: That is actually an inaccurate representation of the data. The 20 million voters figure refers to all senators now serving . In the best proxy for general national mood we have- the House vote, the GOP won fair and square this time around.

  16. C. Clavin says:

    @humanoid.panda:
    There is no good proxy. House districts are too gerry-mandered to be representative of anything but the success of gerry-mandering.

  17. stonetools says:

    Note how Obamacare has destroyed the economy, as the Republicans predicted….
    They have been wrong about EVERY feckin’ thing, but people vote for them.
    I guess being wrong is a quality Republicans and conservatives value.

    Remember a few months ago when “structural” factors doomed us to permanent high unemployment? Well, the Keynesians were right yet again.Its all about recovering aggregrate demand-aggregrate demand that would have revived faster given fiscal stimulus and less austerity. Too bad the good news arrived too late to save the Congressional Democrats last year. The Republican sabatoge campaign managed to stave off the recovery loong enough that dispirited Democratic voters stayed home. Well played, McConnell and the Koch brothers.

  18. humanoid.panda says:

    @C. Clavin: This is why I said the “Best proxy.” Besides, even if seats are gerrymandered, the fact that in 2012 Democrats got about 50.5% of national vote and in 2014, about 47% tells us something about how the House would have looked like sans gerrymandering.

  19. humanoid.panda says:

    @stonetools: Yep. The Dems still lose an election in which Obama is a six year president with 47% support in opinion polls, but the GOP majority in the senate is prob. 52 rather than 54 seats, and there are less GOP governors.

  20. LaMont says:

    That’s the strongest yearly jobs growth we’ve seen since Bill Clinton was President,

    Wow… I know writing that gave you just a little bit of heartburn Doug…did it?

    Anyway,

    I’d like to know who the last Republican President is that resided over such a string of good monthly job reports.

  21. LaMont says:

    @stonetools:

    Perhaps most frustrating is after the stimulus took effect, anyone who cared to pay any attention knew that it mitigated the recession from becoming worse. At that time it was clear that the stimulus probably should have been bigger or another round of it was needed. Of course we weren’t out the hole of crap the President stepped into – so what we got was a heavy dose of GOP obstruction to spend while millions of public sector jobs were being cut at the state level. Then to add insult to injury, the GOP backed the sequestration which put a further drag on the economy. All in the name of “we have a spending problem” while the economy was trying to turn the corner – a corner that was clearly turned after the 2009 stimulus took effect. Then we had to read a string of Doug’s monthly job report blogs about how the President should take ownership of a dragging recovery. Hindsight is 20/20 now – anyone who continues to vote Republican is seriously challenged – and I am not saying that to be funny! Unless the GOP can show any capacity to get something, anything right, why should anyone listen?

  22. Tyrell says:

    @stonetools: Around here things aren’t so rosy. There used to be eight mills around here usually running wide open 24/7; the mill workers did pretty good especially with all the ot ! Now it is down to two mills and 40 hours in a good week. It has affected other businesses too. This of course the results of the one sided, sell out trade deals with other countries. People who have found work are seeing lower wages. Others haven’t seen a raise in years. Here are some local job openings: sidewalk maintenance – cleans sidewalks (scrapes off the gum), crossing guard- helps kids across the street to school (4 hrs a day), cable tv installer,
    landscaping helper – cuts, trims lawns, entertainment position – runs concessions at local theater, shoe sales – commission only, vacuum cleaner sales – door to door, newspaper position – delivery, pizza delivery – pay from tips, pet groomer. A really stellar, inspiring list of career opportunities in today’s economic recovery ! The middle class will soon be non-existent. Hopelessness set in long ago.
    “What recovery?”
    “Buy American!”

  23. wr says:

    @humanoid.panda: “Really, what is the WIN conservatives are celebrating here? ”

    Well, one change is that they’re all immediately going to stop celebrating Williams as that lone brave conservative in the evil MSM and start calling him a liberal…

    But really, this is the most pathetic attempt to hijack a thread away from an uncomfortable truth since the last time Jenos posted anything.

  24. Hal_10000 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Lucky thing Republicans won the mid-terms and got this economy back on track.

    They’ve been in charge of the House since 2010 and they’re austerity budgets were blamed for everything bad that happened over the last four years. I think they’re entitled to claim a bit of credit here. Four years into austerity and we’re still somehow creating jobs. There’s also a working paper indicating cutting off unemployment benefits may have increased employment. And yet the Keynesians continue to claim victory.

  25. C. Clavin says:

    @Hal_10000:
    The longest period of private sector employment gains…in spite of austerity. The point is that we would have been doing much better much sooner absent mis-guided austerity. The American economy is resilient. Republicans did everything they could to stiffen that resilience. You’re asking for credit for holding the recovery back? Good on ya.

  26. David M says:

    January Jobs Report Shows 2014’s Strong Jobs Market Continuing Into New Year

    It’s a good thing Romney was elected and Obamacare was repealed, otherwise we might not have had this job growth.

  27. Hal_10000 says:

    @C. Clavin: @C. Clavin:

    What recovery being held back? You mean those weak tentative economic numbers that have accelerated since austerity began? You think we would be creating a million jobs a month without austerity?

    Keynesianism is a faith. A cult, really. It can never fail; can only be failed.

  28. David M says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Except we’ve seen the predictions over the last several years from the cranks promoting austerity, and the respectable economists who advocated for stimulus. That’s why it is now cranks versus respectable economists.

  29. Hal_10000 says:

    @David M:

    What? Huh? The Keynesians have been predicting doom and gloom because of austerity. We were supposed to have a double-dip recession, according to the “respectable” economists (aka the liberal ones). There is no way we should have these economic numbers in the absence of anything approaching a stimulus. Government spending has been flat for four years. You may remember this — Obama’s been boasting about the shrinking deficit. How on Earth do you reconcile that with the full recovery we’re now beginning to see? The predictions you refer to were from the “respectable” Keynesians and those predictions were dead dead wrong, as they always have been,

    Like I said: a cult.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    I’d like to know who the last Republican President is that resided over such a string of good monthly job reports.

    Eisenhower? Teddy Roosevelt? Oh wait, they wouldn’t be considered Republicans by today’s standards…nevermind…

    Keynesianism is a faith. A cult, really. It can never fail; can only be failed.

    As opposed to trickle-down economics, tax cuts paying for themselves, etc….

  31. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @wr:

    But really, this is the most pathetic attempt to hijack a thread away from an uncomfortable truth since the last time Jenos posted anything

    So we’re talking…,what…16, 20 hours?

    Hijacking threads..a daily occurance on the blogoshpere–that’s why this is “the future of the news medium.”

  32. bill says:

    @humanoid.panda: that there’s no blog in here about it is strange. as an alleged reporter (aka “haircut”) who is revered by the dolts who watch network “news” he should be tarred and feathered for essentially creating some sort of macho image for himself at the expense of those who were actually involved.
    that he hasn’t already resigned in disgrace is typical of his generation.

    but back to the “jobs” report- i knew congress would succeed in keeping the ship upright while the captain did little….

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @bill:
    I agree Williams should go. So do my very liberal wife and very liberal son. Sorry to disappoint you.

    But that’s not a tenth as important as the fact that once again Republicans have been 100% wrong about the economy.

  34. OJ says:

    Williams should go for saying that he liked that Bobby version of Lovelight that he saw in 1982.

  35. Tyrell says:

    @LaMont: I felt that a stimulus package was needed. There were some jobs created and some middle class people were helped. I had hoped that there would have been a lot more infrastructure update and repair type projects funded, such as modernizing the interstate highway systems with technology like imbedded lighting, heaters that melt ice, fog dissipators, and dedicated lanes for trucks. And I am not talking about some sidewalk building project for shopping districts or a new break room for the city council. The electrical grid is way out of date, inefficient, and vulnerable to a complete breakdown. Updating it would have brought a lot of longterm jobs. Improving energy efficiency of private and government buildings could be saving billions a year. Yet for all of the money spent, few jobs were created. There should have been a requirement of one new job for every $30,000; with a limit of no one pocketing over $80,000. And the allocation of the funds should have been done by a private committee made up of business people. Instead it was the same old pork barrel routine of Congressional appropriation. So these are some of the things the taxpayers got for their money: $200,000 to a college to study Twitter, construction of a tunnel for turtles, a grant to a major university to study video games, 90 million $ to tell people how to get a tv converter box, neighborhood “stabilzation” activities (weird), “green” golf carts, millions for Hollywood studios (why not money for Dollywood?), a study on “how to flirt”, money for an icebreaker (and we thought the ice caps were melting), new windows for a visitors center that is not even open, $800,000 to create dance software, tunnel to no where in Pittsburgh (even the governor opposed it), international ant research, a new sidewalk that ends at a ditch (Okla.), $500,000 to atudy effects of people on the Himilayan environment, and $700, 000 to study monkey behavior.
    Of course this stimulus bill became aptly named the Pelosi -Reid bill. But many a congress person from both parties had their hands in this mess. (“We will have to pass it so we can find out what is in it”)
    Millions of dollars went to state and local governments. No telling what happened there. Millions of dollars just vanished – unaccounted for. Appropriations are put in and no one seems to know who sponsored them !
    There needs to be an audit done and an accounting for every penny. Each line item appropriation should show the name of the sponsor. If money disappears or is miss spent any where along the line, the sponsoring congess member will be also held accountable. No more of these “studies” should be allowed to be funded: they are just lining some university professor’s pockets. Why not try this: a bill that outlaws pork barrel spending !
    If this money had gone completely to the “shovels ready, workers needed at once” projects like it was intended for, there would have been a quicker recovery.
    “It seems those projects weren’t so shovel ready” President Obama