New year begins with payroll gains

A new year has begun with payroll gains across a range of industry sectors.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 225,000, and the unemployment rate edged up a tenth of a point to 3.6 percent in January, according to the latest Labor Department estimates.

The initial estimate for payroll gains in December was revised upward 2,000 to 147,000. The November estimate was revised upward 5,000 to 261,000. Payrolls increased an average of 175,000 a month during 2019.

For January, 5.9 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work. Of those, 1.2 million had been out of work 27 weeks or longer. Another 4.2 million people were counted among those working part time because their hours had been cut or they were unable to find full-time positions.

The labor participation rate climbed two-tenths of a point to 63.4 percent, the highest proportion of the working-age population working or actively seeking employment since 2013.

Payroll gains were spread out among a number of industry sectors. Employment increased 44,000 in construction, 36,000 in both health care and leisure and hospitality and 28,000 in transportation and warehousing. Professional and business services added 21,000  jobs.

Manufacturing payrolls contracted 12,000.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.1 hours. The average manufacturing workweek remained unchanged at 40.4 hours.

Average hourly wages for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 7 cents to $28.44. Hourly wages have increased 3.1 percent over the past year.