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The economy added 304,000 jobs in January — significantly more than the 170,000 economists were expecting —while the unemployment rate ticked higher to 4.0% from 3.9%, reflecting the impact of the government shutdown, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Why it matters: With the highest labor force participation rate in 6 years, the job market continues to defy expectations that the economy is approaching full employment. January marked a record 100th straight month of job gains.

  • Economists expect the unemployment rate, which rose since furloughed federal employees were counted as unemployed, to tick back down as those employees return to work (granted the government doesn't shut down again).

The details:

  • Wages rose 3.2% year-over-year in January, falling from the revised 3.3% growth in December.
  • December's blockbuster report was revised lower to 222,000 from 312,000, while November's report was revised higher by 20,000 jobs to 196,000.
  • The number of workers who worked part-time for economic reasons rose to 5.1 million from 4.6%, which may reflect how some furloughed workers coped with delayed pay from the government shutdown.

What they're saying:

  • "After staggering numbers for December, January’s strong performance quells any lingering feelings that a hiring plateau might have occurred from tariffs, the government shutdown or recent market volatility," said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group.
  • "Job growth would probably have been even higher without the government shutdown, which delayed hiring in many companies," Julia Pollak, labor economics researcher at ZipRecruiter, tweeted.
  • Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, tweeted in part: ""Details [of the jobs report] mostly point to a solid labor market and will counter concerns about a significant growth slowdown, and put an end to talk of 2019 recession."

Go deeper

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.

The new grifters: outrage profiteers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Republicans lost the Senate and narrowly missed retaking the House, millions of dollars in grassroots donations were diverted to a handful of 2020 congressional campaigns challenging high-profile Democrats that, realistically, were never going to succeed.

Why it matters: Call it the outrage-industrial complex. Slick fundraising consultants market candidates contesting some of their party’s most reviled opponents. Well-meaning donors pour money into dead-end campaigns instead of competitive contests. The only winner is the consultants.