Let’s take a deeper look at the job
numbers the BLS released Feb. 2.
Total U.S. nonfarm payroll
employment increased by 200,000
in January, while the national
unemployment rate remained at 4.1
percent for the fourth-straight month.
The unemployment rate appears to have
leveled off since declining steadily
from its 5 percent mark recorded in
March, April and September of 2016.
Meanwhile, wages and benefits grew
0.6 percent during Q4 2017, with last year
posting a total 2. 6 percent rise — its best
pace since the spring of 2015. Wages and
benefits grew 2. 2 percent during 2016.
Overall, the U.S. job market is strong
at nine years into expansion following
the Great Recession of 2008-2009.
Manufacturing Jobs Update
The U.S. added 15,000
manufacturing jobs during January,
following a 21,000 jobs gain in
December. Over the past 12 months
through January, the U.S. has added
186,000 manufacturing jobs —
averaging 15,500 per month.
January 2018’s manufacturing
unemployment rate of 3. 4 percent
was down considerably compared to
4. 2 percent a year earlier, while the
number of unemployed manufacturing
persons declined by 16. 9 percent year-over-year to 526,000.
Durable goods manufacturing gained
18,000 jobs in January. Top monthly
changes from December 2017 were in:
• Nonmetallic mineral
• Computer and electronic
• Wood products +1,300
• Furniture and related
Nondurable goods manufacturing
lost 3,000 jobs in January. Top
monthly changes from December 2017
• Paper and paper products - 2,200
• Printing and related support
• Chemicals -1,500
Wholesale trade added 9,800
jobs in January, following a gain
of 10,100 in December, while
warehousing and storage added
5,300 and 2,900 jobs in those two
The January employment report
came one day after the Institute
for Supply Management's January
Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)
of 59.1 percent showed a slight
decrease of 0.2 percentage points
from the seasonally-adjusted
December reading. As any reading
above 50 percent indicates
expansion, January’s reading shows
continued strong expansion for the
U.S. manufacturing economy as a
whole, albeit at a modestly slower
pace than in December.
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