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US sees 225,000 new jobs during January

By Philip Smith

Construction, hospitality and healthcare saw employment gains with only manufacturing suffering job losses

The US saw 225,000 new jobs created last month with gains in construction, hospitality and health care. Only manufacturing saw a decline.

Wages also increased by 3.1 per cent (up from 3 per cent in December). Even though the unemployment rate edged up by 0.1 percentage point (from a 50-year low) to 3.6 per cent, it all indicates a jobs and spending-fuelled economic uplift in this election year.

Unemployment and wages were pretty much in keeping with analyst expectations, with the number of jobs created higher than the 158,000 predicted.

The jobs boost may have been helped by a depressed 2019 with the prospect of a damaging trade war with China and the prospect of recession hanging over the US.

“You still have headwinds of tariffs, you still have headwinds of trade uncertainty, but those headwinds have been lessened,” said Ellen Zentner, chief United States economist for Morgan Stanley.

January’s numbers may also have been helped by an unusually warm winter in much of the country, which lifted employment in weather-sensitive sectors.

Construction saw 44,000 new jobs, helped by a growing demand for housing boosted by lower mortgage rates.

There were 36,000 new jobs in both the healthcare and hotels/restaurants sectors.

Transportation added 28,000 workers, mostly package deliverers and warehouse stockers. Professional services hired 21,000 people.

Employment in manufacturing, however, fell for the third time in the past four months losing 12,000 jobs mainly due to falling exports.

Even so, it looks as if the US is preparing for a positive economic spring, which will add to the Republican momentum building after the Senate acquitted President Trump on impeachment charges. Employment has always been one of the president’s self-declared critical success factors.

The jobs growth is not confined to the US. Over the border Canada’s economy gained a net 34,500 jobs in January, entirely in full-time work. The unemployment rate fell to 5.5 per cent.

FURTHER READING: Senate acquits Trump on both impeachment articles

FURTHER READING: Has the US jobs boom peaked?

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