Employers added 225,000 jobs in January, showing a surprising sign of continued strength for the economy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

Employment Situation Summary Highlights:

  • Nonfarm payrolls surged 225,000 for the month.
  • The unemployment rate for January rose to 3.6%, up slightly from 3.5% the month before.
  • The unemployment rate increase is due to encouraging news that the share of working Americans who have jobs or are actively looking for work — known as the labor force participation rate — ticked up to its highest level in seven years, to 63.4 percent. It’s another sign that the tight labor market is wooing more people back to the job market. The jobless rate remains near a 50-year low.
  • The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older also increased slightly to 2.0%, from 1.9% in December. These workers are in highest demand by employers.
  • Average hourly earnings rose 3.1% over a year ago to $28.44, ahead of estimates for 3% growth.  That marked 18 consecutive months of wage gains above 3%.
  • The January BLS report comes on the heels of a milestone December, when women outnumbered men in the workforce for only the second time in history. That number remained unchanged in January, with women continuing to make up slightly more than 50% of the non-farm labor force.

In this challenging labor market, employers are looking to hire candidates who may not meet all the position requirements. For more tips on assessing candidates’ skills, experience and organizational fit, request a consultation.