U.S. job growth beats expectations in January; unemployment rate at 4.0%

The U.S. economy created far more jobs than expected in January even as raging COVID-19 infections disrupted activity at consumer-facing businesses, pointing to underlying strength in the labor market.

The survey of establishments in the Labor Department's closely watched employment report on Friday showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 467,000 jobs last month. Data for December was revised higher to show 510,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 199,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 150,000 jobs added in January. Estimates ranged from a decrease of 400,000 to a gain of 385,000 jobs.

The labor market resilience could alter expectations that economic growth would slow significantly in the first quarter after robust growth in the fourth quarter. Economists had been bracing for a disappointment as the government surveyed businesses for payrolls in mid-January, when Omicron infections were peaking.

Data from the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey, published in mid-January, showed 8.8 million people reported not being at work because of coronavirus-related reasons between Dec. 29 and Jan. 10. Its survey of small businesses also showed an increase in establishments reporting large negative impacts from the pandemic between Jan 10 and Jan. 16.

U.S. job growth beats expectations in January; unemployment rate at 4.0% | Reuters


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