The U.S. government on Friday reported 157,000 more jobs in January and average hourly wages up slightly.
The data also showed that job gains in November and December of last year were stronger than initially estimated, and that net hiring growth over the past two years averaged about 180,000 jobs each month.
On the other hand, more than 12 million people are still looking for jobs, and the unemployment rate rose as more of them entered the job market.
Economists and investors seem to be taking Friday’s data as a reassurance after news that the U.S. economy actually shrank at the end of last year.
Analysts are parsing the numbers to find out what they say about the direction of the U.S. economy, what industries are stronger and weaker, and where future job growth is likely to be.
- Cliff Waldman, senior economist for the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI).