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January jobs report smashes analysts' expectations

Experts' projections had the jobs figure somewhere around 170,000.

By Clyde Hughes
January jobs report smashes analysts' expectations
The U.S. economy added 304,000 new jobs in January, the Labor Department said Friday -- far exceeding what experts had predicted. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The federal government said more than 300,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in January, a figure that far surpasses what analysts projected.

The Labor Department reported Friday 304,000 jobs were added.

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Most analysts had projected the economy would add around 170,000 jobs. One estimate this week put the number around 223,000.

The month's 304,000 new jobs also beat the 2018 average job gain of 223,000, the Labor Department said.

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"In January, employment grew in several industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing," the report said. "There were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours, and earnings from the establishment survey."

President Donald Trump told reporters Friday the numbers didn't surprise him.

"It wasn't a shocker to me," he said. "Other countries are not doing well."

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The leisure and hospitality industry added 74,000, including 37,000 at drinking establishments and 32,000 at amusement, gambling, and recreation facilities. Construction added 52,000, including growth in nonresidential (19,000) and residential (15,000) work.

Healthcare employment jumped by 42,000 jobs, bolstered by increases in ambulatory services (22,000) and hospitals (19,000). Transportation and warehousing rose by 27,000 positions.

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Friday's report said employment showed little change over the month in other major industries.

The unemployment rate slightly increased to 4 percent, to 6.5 million, which was impacted by the month-long federal government shutdown.

Among working groups, the report said unemployment for Hispanics rose to 4.9 percent in January. Rates for men (3.7 percent), women (3.6 percent), teenagers (12.9 percent), whites (3.5 percent), African Americans (6.8 percent) and Asians (3.1 percent) showed little change.

U.S. stocks also performed well in January, posting their largest gain since 1989.

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