US economy beats estimates, adds 225,000 jobs in January as wages grow

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  • The US labor market entered 2020 on a stronger-than-expected note, adding jobs for a record 112th month.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday 225,000 nonfarm payrolls were created in January, compared with economist forecasts for 165,000.
  • Average hourly earnings picked up to 3.1% from a year earlier, compared with 2.9% in December.
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The US labor market entered 2020 on a stronger than expected note, adding jobs for a record 112th month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday 225,000 nonfarm payrolls were created in January, compared with economist forecasts for 165,000. The unemployment rate edged higher to 3.6%. Advertisement

Average hourly earnings picked up to 3.1% from a year earlier, compared with 2.9% in December. While wage growth has continued to outpace inflation, it has held below the pace economists would hope for with historically strong employment levels.

The BLS also made major revisions to data for 2018 and 2019, offering a more accurate picture of the labor market. A preliminary estimate of those revisions in August showed two million jobs were added in the year through March 2019, a half a million fewer jobs than previously thought.

"The job market is strong, but not nearly as strong as thought," said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "This revision is well-anticipated so likely won't impact financial markets, but it may change perceptions regarding the strength of the labor market."
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Still, the revisions were relatively small for an economy with over 150 million total jobs. The US needs to add roughly 100,000 payrolls per month to keep up with the pace of population growth.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.Read more: John Thompson grew a pair of investing funds by nearly 20,000%. He shares his one stock pick that could triple in the next few years - and explains why it's his largest holding.Advertisement

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