Payroll Employment Rises by 517,000 in January; Unemployment Rate Changed Little at 3.4 Percent
Both the unemployment rate, at 3.4 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 5.7 million, changed little in January. The unemployment rate has shown little net movement since early 2022.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.1 million, was little changed in January. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.
The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was 5.3 million in January, little changed from the prior month. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.
Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force, at 1.4 million, changed little in January. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was also little changed over the month at 342,000.
- Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 517,000 in January, compared with an average monthly gain of 401,000 in 2022. Job growth was widespread in January, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care. Employment also increased in government, partially reflecting the return of workers from a strike.
- Leisure and hospitality added 128,000 jobs in January compared with an average of 89,000 jobs per month in 2022. Over the month, food services and drinking places added 99,000 jobs, while employment continued to trend up in accommodation (+15,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality remains below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 495,000, or 2.9 percent.
- In January, employment in professional and business services rose by 82,000, led by gains in professional, scientific, and technical services (+41,000). Job growth in professional and business services averaged 63,000 per month in 2022.
- Government employment increased by 74,000 in January. Employment in state government education increased by 35,000, reflecting the return of university workers after a strike.
- Health care added 58,000 jobs in January. Job growth occurred in ambulatory health care services (+30,000), nursing and residential care facilities (+17,000), and hospitals (+11,000). In 2022, health care added an average of 47,000 jobs per month.
- Employment in retail trade rose by 30,000 in January, following little net growth in 2022 (an average of +7,000 per month). In January, job gains in general merchandise retailers (+16,000) and in furniture, home furnishings, electronics, and appliance retailers (+7,000) were partially offset by a decline in health and personal care retailers (-6,000).
- Construction added 25,000 jobs in January, reflecting an employment gain in specialty trade contractors (+22,000). Employment in the construction industry grew by an average of 22,000 per month in 2022.
- In January, transportation and warehousing added 23,000 jobs, the same as the industry’s average monthly gain in 2022. Over the month, employment in support activities for transportation increased by 7,000.
- Employment in social assistance increased by 21,000 in January, little different from the 2022 average gain of 19,000 per month.
- Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in January (+19,000). In 2022, manufacturing added an average of 33,000 jobs per month.
- Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; wholesale trade; information; financial activities; and other services.
Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics, THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — January 2023