Hiring Picks Up in January, Wage Gains Strongest in Nine Years

February 02, 2018

Employers added 200,000 payroll jobs in January and hourly pay increased at its fastest yearly pace since 2009.  Employment gains were broad-based and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent.   Average hourly wage growth rose to 2.9 percent over the past year, with financial activities (4.2 percent), information (3.7 percent), leisure and hospitality (3.3 percent), and transportation and warehousing (3.2 percent) reporting even stronger wage growth.  Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 192,000 per month, up from 169,000 for the previous three months.  In January, five industries accounted for 59 percent of the increase in payroll jobs:
  • Construction (+36,000);
  • Bars and Restaurants (+31,100);
  • Health Care (+20,600);
  • Retail Trade (+15,400); and
  • Manufacturing (+15,000).
Most other industries had smaller job gains, with the notable exceptions of information (-6,000) and state and local government (-11,000).