USA economy adds 304,000 jobs in January

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Food services and drinking places added 36,600 jobs in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and now employ more than 12.1 million people-up by more than 280,000 over the past 12 months.

"Barring further tightening in financial conditions that would negatively impact economic activity, the very strong labor market picture supports our expectations that the Fed will keep a tightening bias this year".

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly in January, from 3.9 to 4.0 percent, while wages rose 3 cents on average.

The new numbers were welcome news for President Donald Trump, whose already-low public approval rating suffered in the wake of the longest government shutdown in United States history. Indirect effects, such as contractors and private sector employees who lost work due to the shutdown, could be less clear.

The economy, however, added 70,000 fewer jobs than previously reported in November and December.

"Best January for the DOW in over 30 years", Trump said in a February 1 tweet, commenting on the solid growth of the Dow Jones Industrial Average index since the market's December 24 low.

It added that some of the federal workers classified themselves as "employed but absent from work" during the month, which would not have been included in the figures for unemployment. That's a key reason why the unemployment rate rose despite the healthy job gain.Most economists have forecast that the shutdown will likely slow economic growth for the first three months of this year.

"Some of the unexpectedly large jump in hiring appeared to have been pulled forward from December, which was revised down from 312,000 jobs to 222,000", CNN reported.

But Chamberlain cautioned that many federal workers were also looking for full-time work during the shutdown, and the number of people applying for federal jobs dropped 45 percent on Glassdoor. Add Jobs Report as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Jobs Report news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Transportation, leisure and hospitality, construction and health care led the job gains.

The shutdown had some 380,000 federal workers furloughed from December 22 to January 25.

That data would not show up in the jobs report, but as the federal government tries to replace its aging workforce, "that's the kind of harm that will build up over years", Chamberlain said.

January marked a record 100 straight months of job gains. And the housing market has slumped as mortgage rates have increased.

"The respectable employment data provides something of a relief, for now at least, for members of the Federal Reserve who have been bracing for the possibility of a more serious slowdown in the US economy", said Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com. With unemployment so low and many companies struggling to fill jobs, layoffs might not have been widespread.

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