U.S. Outlook: A rock-solid payroll report for January
Job growth in January exceeded economists’ expectations (227K), adding some hard-data weight to rising spirits in recent consumer and business sentiment surveys.
For more on these developments, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on Feb. 3.Key observations:
- More people are staying in the labor force; the labor force participation rate improved to 62.9% in January from 62.7% in December.
- The average duration of unemployment fell to 25.1 weeks from 26 weeks in December.
- The only drawback in the January payroll report was a disappointing slowdown in average hourly earning to just a 0.1% monthly gain in January.