Employers Add Jobs, Unemployment Rate Edges Higher Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Employers Add Jobs, Unemployment Rate Edges Higher

Manufacturers added 22,000 jobs in January while the sectors growing the most were retail, construction and health care.

Businesses in the U.S added 257,000 jobs in January, slipping slightly off the pace set at the end of 2014. The total beats estimates showing continued strong and sustained growth.

Additionally, December’s number was adjusted up to 423,000 from 353,000.

Despite the gains, the Department of Labor put the unemployment rate at 5.7%, up from 5.6% in December.

Manufacturers added 22,000 jobs and construction companies increased payroll by 39,000.

The November, 2014 manufacturing number was revised up, showing a gain of 45,000, marking the best monthly performance since August, 1998.

"The performance is the most significant in manufacturing job gains since the humdrum levels of 2014 on monthly basis," according to Alan Tonelson with RealityChek.

NAM did the math and it shows the upward revision works out to an average of 18,800 manufacturing jobs created monthly since December of 2013. And since 2009, the industry has grown by 855,000 workers.

The manufacturing sector adding the most jobs was transportation with an additional 7,300 positions.

The future looks good for manufacturing, according to NAM chief economist Chad Moutray, who said, "We expect to see continued healthy gains in manufacturing employment in 2015, but business leaders will also be closely watching a number of downside risks, ranging from slowing global growth to a still-cautious consumer to the prospect of increasing interest rates."

Overall the sectors adding the most jobs were retail, construction and health care. Federal, state and local governments saw the biggest drop, cutting 10,000 jobs.

The Labor Department survey showed the number of unemployed rose around 300,000 to 8.98 million.

Manufacturing wages saw a nominal gain of 0.29%. Wages across all sectors were up slightly adding 12 cents to $24.87. Year over year that number is up 2.2%, just slightly above the rate of inflation.

The positive labor news overshadows several signs of a cooling economy recently released. New reports show both the manufacturing and service markets were slowing down. And the trade deficit is at its highest point in more than two years.

A strong dollar has led to a slowdown of exports, and low oil prices have led to a cutback in production and layoffs at energy companies. The energy industry lost 1,900 jobs according to the new report.

Americans are spending.  Consumer confidence is at its highest level since August of 2007 helped by low fuel prices and a strong jobs market.


TAGS: Finance
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