Unemployment Rate Hasn't Been This Low Since 1969

Falls to 3.4%; stock market isn't happy with surprisingly strong jobs report
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 3, 2023 7:56 AM CST
New Jobs Number Is Way Stronger Than Estimates
A help-wanted sign hangs in the front window of the Bar Harbor Tea Room in Bar Harbor, Maine, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

America’s employers added a robust 517,000 jobs in January, a surprisingly strong gain in the face of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive drive to slow growth and tame inflation with higher interest rates, per the AP. Analysts expected a figure of 187,000, notes the Wall Street Journal.

  • Rate: The unemployment rate dipped to 3.4%, its lowest point since May 1969, reports CNBC. Analysts predicted a rate of 3.6%.
  • Big picture: Friday’s government report added to the picture of a resilient labor market, with low unemployment, relatively few layoffs and many job openings even as most economists foresee a recession nearing. Though good for workers, employers’ steady demand for labor has also helped accelerate wage growth and contributed to high inflation. January’s job growth topped December’s 269,000 gain.
  • Markets: The stock market isn't happy. Dow futures fell about 200 points after the report came out, on fears the Fed will keep raising rates, per CNBC.
(More jobs report stories.)

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