Payroll growth continues despite government shutdown
U.S. payrolls added 304,000 workers in January, with employers seemingly shrugging off the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.It looks like the predictions of negative growth because of the shutdown was not realized. The economy continues to outperform expectations. It is too bad that we were not adding more jobs to build a border barrier.
The increase reported by the U.S. Labor Department on Friday was nearly double the average estimate of 165,000 from economists surveyed by FactSet and remained well above the level needed to keep up with inflation. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4 percent from 3.9 percent in December and compares with a nearly 50-year low of 3.7 percent in November.
"A lot of economists were pricing in some impact of the government shutdown in the job growth numbers, and clearly that didn't play out, particularly in the private sector," Joseph Song, an economist with Bank of America, told the Washington Examiner.
January hiring almost matched an initial report from the previous month that employers added a jaw-dropping 312,000 workers, and reflects the impact of a partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 after President Trump refused to sign any government-funding bill that didn't include $5.7 billion for a wall along the southern U.S. border that he promised in his 2016 campaign.
Some of the biggest gains were in construction, which added 52,000 employees, and the retail and healthcare industries. Even the federal government added 1,000 workers, with most agencies funded before the shutdown began and operating normally.