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U.S. employers added 353,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.7% for the third month in a row, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. 

Hiring was stronger than economists had expected. The 353,000 jobs gained in January was more than the 333,000 added in December and exceeded the 255,000 average monthly gain in 2023. 

Industries that experienced significant job gains in January included professional and business services, healthcare, retail trade, and social assistance.  

The labor force participation rate, which measures people who are employed or actively looking for work, was unchanged in January at 62.5%. The employment-population ratio, which measures the number of working-age people in the population was little changed at 60.2%. 

There were 6.1 million working-age people unemployed in January and the long-term unemployed (27 weeks or more), comprised about 20.8% of that total. 

Professional and business services added 74,000 jobs in January, considerably higher than the average monthly increase of 14,000 jobs in 2023. Over the month, professional, scientific, and technical services added 42,000 jobs. Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month (+4,000) but is down by 408,000 since reaching a peak in March 2022.

In January, employment in healthcare rose by 70,000, with gains in ambulatory healthcare services (+33,000), hospitals (+20,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+17,000). Job growth in healthcare averaged 58,000 per month in 2023.

Retail trade employment increased by 45,000 in January but has shown little net growth since early 2023. Over the month, general merchandise retailers added 24,000 jobs, while electronics and appliance retailers lost 3,000 jobs.

Employment in social assistance rose by 30,000 in January, reflecting continued growth in individual and family services (+22,000). Employment in social assistance grew by an average of 23,000 per month in 2023.

Employment in manufacturing edged up in January (+23,000), with job gains in chemical manufacturing (+7,000) and printing and related support activities (+5,000). Manufacturing experienced little net job growth in 2023.

Government employment continued to trend up in January (+36,000) but was below the average monthly gain of 57,000 in 2023. A job gain occurred in the federal government (+11,000), and employment continued to trend up in local government, excluding education (+19,000).

In January, employment in the information sector continued its upward trend (+15,000). Employment in motion picture and sound recording industries increased by 12,000, while employment in telecommunications decreased by 3,000. Overall, employment in the information industry is down by 76,000 since a peak in November 2022. 

Employment in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industry declined by 5,000 in January, following little net change in 2023. Over the month, a job loss in support activities for mining (-7,000) was partially offset by a job gain in oil and gas extraction (+2,000).

Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and other services.

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls rose by 19 cents, or 0.6%, to $34.55. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.5%. In January, average
hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 13 cents, or 0.4% to $29.66.

Friday’s Employment Situation report also revised upward the preliminary employment figures that had been reported for the prior two months. November employment was revised up by 9,000, from +173,000 to +182,000, and the change for December was revised up by 117,000, from +216,000 to +333,000. With these revisions, employment in November and December combined is 126,000 higher than previously reported.