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US Employment Situation (Excerpts)

February 2 2024 - Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 353,000 in January, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth was led by professional and business services, health care, retail trade, and social assistance.

Professional and business services added 74,000 jobs in January, considerably higher than the average monthly increase of 14,000 jobs in 2023. Over the month, professional, scientific, and technical services added 42,000 jobs. Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month (+4,000) but is down by 408,000 since reaching a peak in March 2022.

In January, employment in health care rose by 70,000, with gains in ambulatory health care services (+33,000), hospitals (+20,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+17,000). Job growth in health care averaged 58,000 per month in 2023.

Retail trade employment increased by 45,000 in January but has shown little net growth since early 2023. Over the month, general merchandise retailers added 24,000 jobs, while electronics and appliance retailers lost 3,000 jobs.

In November, employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up (+40,000), almost entirely in food services and drinking places. Leisure and hospitality had added an average of 51,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.

Employment in social assistance rose by 30,000 in January, reflecting continued growth in individual and family services (+22,000). Employment in social assistance grew by an average of 23,000 per month in 2023.

Employment in manufacturing edged up in January (+23,000), with job gains in chemical manufacturing (+7,000) and printing and related support activities (+5,000). Manufacturing experienced little net job growth in 2023.

Government employment continued to trend up in January (+36,000), below the average monthly gain of 57,000 in 2023. A job gain occurred in federal government (+11,000), and employment continued to trend up in local government, excluding education (+19,000).

In January, employment in information continued its upward trend (+15,000). Employment in motion picture and sound recording industries increased by 12,000, while employment in telecommunications decreased by 3,000. Overall, employment in the information industry is down by 76,000 since a recent peak in November 2022.

Employment in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry declined by 5,000 in January, following little net change in 2023. Over the month, a job loss in support activities for mining (-7,000) was partially offset by a job gain in oil and gas extraction (+2,000).

Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and other services.

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 19 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $34.55. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.5 percent. In January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 13 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $29.66.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor



 
 




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