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U.S. Economy Added 200,000 Jobs In January; Wages Rose

The U.S. added 200,000 jobs in January, continuing the trend of steady job growth for another month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

That means the economy has now added jobs for 88 months in a row. And, significantly, wages are on the rise, too.

Average hourly earnings rose by 9 cents to $26.74, with a year-over-year growth of 2.9 percent — the highest rate of growth the BLS recorded since June 2009.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent.

Analysts had predicted healthy job growth and essentially unchanged unemployment.

Wages, meanwhile, had been largely stagnant for years, not rising to keep pace with the growing economy.

"The faster pace of wage gains indicates that the labor market is tightening, with employers having to pay higher wages to get the workers they want," Nationwide Chief Economist David Berson says.

The rise in employment was driven by the construction industry, restaurants, health care and manufacturing, all sectors that added jobs last month.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and transportation, "changed little over the month," the BLS says.

Slightly offsetting last month's jobs growth, however, was an adjustment to the jobs reports from November and December. November's robust growth was revised down, from 252,000 to 216,000, while December's slower-than-expected growth was adjusted up, from 148,000 to 160,000.

The revisions amount to a reduction of 24,000 jobs reported over the two months.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.
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