Updated Feb 7, 2020 - Economy & Business

U.S. economy adds 225,000 jobs in January

Photo: Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 225,000 jobs in January, the government said on Friday, far above economists’ expectations of 161,000. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 3.6% — just above last month's 50-year low of 3.5%

The big picture: The result showcased the continued resiliency of the labor market, and the strong numbers are sure to be seized on by President Trump as he plots his course to re-election following his acquittal in the Senate's impeachment trial.

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Worth noting: The report did include a significant revision, subtracting 514,000 jobs from the yearlong period ending March 2019.

  • While that's not far off from the government's initial estimate, released in August, of a downward revision of 501,000 jobs, it could indicate that 2019 may not have been as strong of a year for the labor market as previously thought.

The state of play: The big gains this month could largely be the result of warmer weather this winter, Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told Axios' Dion Rabouin, as job gains in this month's survey of the private sector by ADP were led by the leisure and hospitality industries.

  • CNBC notes that January 2020 was the fifth-warmest month on record.

Go deeper

U.S. jobs growth may be going to another level

Photo: Jim Young/AFP via Getty Images

The job market looks to be picking up steam and shaking off any hints of the slowdown economists predicted would happen as employers got further away from the boost of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

What happened: ADP's private payrolls report showed the U.S. added 291,000 jobs in January, beating expectations by a wide margin for the second straight month. It was the report's best monthly gain since May 2015.

Election-year economy "everything Trump could hope for"

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chart: Axios Visuals

The big headline out of Friday's jobs report "was that employers added 225,000 jobs in January, comfortably more than analysts had expected," N.Y. Times senior economics correspondent Neil Irwin writes.

The big picture: Positive underlying trends drove the unemployment rate up to 3.6% from 3.5%, while the share of adults working or looking for work rose to 63.4% — the highest since mid-2013, the Times writes.

The latest job openings report was even worse than advertised

Data: BLS via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report showed the lowest number of openings in two years, but the rest of the report revealed some other negative facts about the labor market.

Details: November and December saw the largest two-month drop in job openings on record, dating back to 2001, notes Lou Brien, rates strategist at DRW Trading.