Employers Keep Hiring at Brisk Pace

Even as jobless rate ticks up
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 3, 2017 7:51 AM CST
New Jobless Figures Hint at Strong Labor Market
File photo of a jobs fair in New York City in 2016.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

US employers ramped up hiring last month and more Americans began looking for work, a sign that President Trump has inherited a robust job market, reports AP. The Labor Department says employers added 227,000 jobs in January, the most since September and higher than last year's average monthly gain of 187,000. The unemployment rate ticked up to a low 4.8% last month from 4.7% in December. Yet the rate rose for a mostly good reason: More Americans started looking for work. The percentage of adults working or looking for jobs increased to its highest level since September.

Yet some of the economy's weak spots remain: Average hourly wages barely increased last month. And the number of people working part-time but who would prefer full-time work rose. A blog post at the Wall Street Journal notes that the retail sector added the most new jobs in January (46,000), which is unusual in that it's a post-holiday month. "Who said the mall is dead?" (Read more unemployment stories.)

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