US Nonfarm Payroll Increases by 517,000 in January; Unemployment Dips to 3.4%

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday (2-3-23) that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 517,000 in January. For comparison, the average monthly gain in 2022 was 401,000.

The BLS is reporting that job growth was once again widespread in January, with notable growth in the following:

  • Leisure and hospitality added 128,000 new jobs, with food service and drinking places gaining 99,000 positions.
  • Professional and business services increased by 82,000, led by gains in professional, scientific, and technical services.
  • Government employment rose by 74,000. Employment in state government education increased by 35,000.
  • Health care added 58,000 new jobs, led by gains in ambulatory health care services, nursing and residential care facilities, and hospitals.
  • The retail trade sector increased by 30,000 jobs, led by gains in general merchandise retailers, and in furniture, home furnishing, electronics, and appliances retailers.
  • Construction employment increased by 25,000, with specialty trade contractors adding 22,000 jobs.
  • Transportation and warehousing gained 23,000 jobs.
  • Social assistance added 21,000 new positions.
  • Manufacturing added 19,000 new jobs.

Employment was little changed in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction; wholesale trade; information; financial activities; and other services.

In January, the unemployment rate dipped to 3.4% and continues to hold in a narrow range that was established early in 2022. The number of unemployed persons held steady at 5.7 million.

The BLS notes that monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimate and from recalculations of seasonal factors. As a result, the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised upwardly by 34,000, from the initially reported 256,000 to 290,000. The change for December was revised upwardly by 37,000, from the originally reported 223,000 to 260,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined were 71,000 higher than previously reported.

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