U.S. payrolls keep growing

Employment continues to grow in the United States even as the unemployment rate ticks up as more people look for jobs.

According to the latest Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased 227,000 in January. That was the  biggest monthly gain since September.

The jobless rate edged up a tenth of a point to 4.8 percent as more people looking for work increased the ranks of those counted among the unemployed.

The initial estimate for payroll gains in December was revised upward 1,000 to 157,000. But the estimate for the gain for November was revised downward 40,000 to 164,000.

For January, the number of people counted  among those unsuccessfully looking for work stood at 7.6 million. Of those,
1.9 million have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Another 5.8 million people were counted among those working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they were uanble to find full-time positions. The labor force participation rate rose two-tenths of a point to 62.9 percent.

Employment in retail trades increased 46,000 in January with hiring at clothing, electronics and home furnishing stores.

Employment increased 36,000 in construction, 32,000 in financial activities and 23,000 in professional and technical services. Food services and drinking places added 30,000 jobs, while health care payrolls grew 18,000.

The average workweek for employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged at 34.4 hours. The manufacturing workweek edged up a tenth of an hour to 40.8 hours.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose three cents to $26. Over the past year, wages have increased 2.5 percent.