The U.S. economy added about 225,000 new jobs in January compared with December, while the unemployment rate was little changed at 3.6%, according to estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Notable job gains occurred in construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing.
The number of unemployed persons, at 5.9 million, was little changed compared with the previous month.
Wages, however, continued to rise, with the average hourly rate rising by seven cents to $28.44 per hour.
Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1% according to the BLS.
Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees were $23.87 in January, basically flat compared with December.
“[The] U.S. labor market continues to show strength, exceeding expectations and adding a robust 225,000 jobs in January while wage growth remained a solid 3.1 percent,” says Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at First American, in a statement. “Another bright spot is January’s 1.9 percent year-over-year gain of residential construction labor, signaling that the productivity of construction labor is likely to increase. This is a tailwind for the housing market, as finding ways to increase the productivity of construction workers is critically important to alleviating the labor shortage challenge and the gap between household formation and home building.”
“Build it and they will buy it,” she adds. “The housing market is being buoyed by lower mortgage rates, favorable demographics, and the continued yearly growth in wages, which contributes to higher household income and stronger purchasing power.”