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Workers are seen during the construction of the LG Electronics washing machine plant in Clarksville, Tennessee, U.S. Janua...

9 takeaways from the January jobs report

The economy added 200,000 jobs last month, according to new figures released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics The report follows President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address earlier this week, where he touted the economy’s growth under his watch.

Whether Trump — or any president — deserves credit for economic growth is up for debate. But the overall numbers were positive, and many economists predicted the growth would continue throughout the year. Here are nine takeaways from January’s jobs report.

  • Of the 200,000 jobs created last month, a large number came in industries that Trump has championed as a candidate and president. The construction industry added 36,000 jobs, and manufacturing added 15,000 new jobs as well.
  • The health care industry added 21,000 jobs in January, slightly down from the industry’s average monthly gain of 24,000 jobs in 2017.
  • Food services and “drinking places” also fared particularly well last month. Restaurants, bars and other places where food and alcohol are served added a total of 31,000 jobs.
  • The unemployment rate in January was 4.1 percent, unchanged from the figures for the previous month. The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2000, when it fell to 3.9 percent in December of that year.
  • The labor force participation rate stood at 62.7 percent, the same as December. The rate counts the share of adults who have jobs or are actively seeking employment.
  • Average hourly wages have risen 2.9 percent, or 75 cents, over the past year. Hourly wages went up nine cents an hour in January, after seeing an 11-cent jump in December. Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com’s senior economic analyst, said the wage growth was the “biggest story” from the jobs report.
  • “Could we see wage growth break through the 3 percent barrier? That’s a key question for the coming months,” Hamrick wrote in an email.
  • The solid jobs report and wage growth could spur the Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark interest rate in March. But Jared Bernstein, who served as an economic adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, wrote Friday there were “excellent reasons to embrace and welcome, not fear, faster wage growth.”
  • “There may be more room to run in this economy than we previously thought,” Bernstein wrote in a post on his economics blog.

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