US Bureau of Labor Statistics

In January, the overall unemployment rate rose by one tenth of a percent, to 4.0 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. It was 4.1 percent a year ago in January 2018.

The civilian labor force participation rate also rose by one tenth of a percent, to 63.2 percent. The participation rate has been trending upwards over the past 5 months and January marks the highest participation rate since September of 2013.

The employment-population ratio also rose by one tenth of a percent, to 60.7 percent. The employment-population ratio has been trending upwards and remains at its highest level since December 2008.

In December, the unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree increased by three tenths of a percent to 2.4 percent.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 304,000 in December.  The payroll employment numbers for both November and December 2018 were adjusted, resulting in gains that were 70,000 less than previously reported.  Payroll employment gains have averaged 241,000 over the last three months.

Some details directly from the BLS report:


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 304,000 in January, compared with an average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018. In January, employment grew in several industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing. There were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours, and earnings from the establishment survey.

In January, employment in leisure and hospitality rose by 74,000. Within the industry, job gains occurred in food services and drinking places (+37,000) and in amusements, gambling, and recreation (+32,000). Over the year, leisure and hospitality has added 410,000 jobs.

 Construction employment rose by 52,000 in January. Job gains occurred among specialty trade contractors, with increases in both the nonresidential (+19,000) and residential (+15,000) components. Employment also rose in heavy and civil engineering construction (+10,000) and residential building (+9,000). Construction has added 338,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

 Employment in health care increased by 42,000 in January. Within the industry, job gains occurred in ambulatory health care services (+22,000) and hospitals (+19,000). Health care has added 368,000 jobs over the past year.

 Over the month, employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 27,000, following little change in December. In January, job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+15,000) and among couriers and messengers (+7,000). Over the year, employment in transportation and warehousing has increased by 219,000.

 In January, retail trade employment edged up by 21,000. Job gains occurred in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+17,000), while general merchandise stores lost jobs (-12,000). Employment in retail trade has shown little net change over the past 12 months (+26,000).

 Mining employment increased by 7,000 in January. The industry has added 64,000 jobs over the year, almost entirely in support activities for mining.

 Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up over the month (+30,000) and has increased by 546,000 in the past 12 months.

 Employment in manufacturing continued to trend up in January (+13,000). Over-the-month job gains occurred in durable goods (+20,000), while employment in nondurable goods changed little (-7,000). Manufacturing employment has increased by 261,000 over the year, with more than four-fifths of the gain in durable goods industries.

 Employment in federal government was essentially unchanged in January (+1,000). Federal employees on furlough during the partial government shutdown were counted as employed in the establishment survey because they worked or received pay (or will receive pay) for the pay period that included the 12th of the month.

 Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including wholesale trade, information, and financial activities.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in January. In manufacturing, both the workweek and overtime decreased by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours and 3.5 hours, respectively. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls held at 33.7 hours.

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $27.56, following a 10-cent gain in December. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 85 cents, or 3.2 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $23.12 in January.