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U.S. economy shocks experts with 467K jobs in January; Biden hails 'historic' comeback

President Joe Biden said the jobs report shows the U.S. is in the midst of a "historic economic comeback."

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U.S. economy shocks experts with 467K jobs in January; Biden hails 'historic' comeback
United States President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the January jobs report in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on February 4, 2022. The U.S. Department of Labor reported the economy added 467,000 jobs in January with the unemployment rate edging up to 4 percent. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy added close to a half-million jobs during the month of January -- a surprising surge in a national workforce that was expected to show only modest growth due to the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The Labor Department said in its monthly report Thursday that the economy added 467,000 jobs last month -- which is several hundred thousand more than the 150,000 most economists expected.

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Many analysts expected the widespread surge in coronavirus cases, fueled by Omicron, to heavily impact job growth in January. ADP and Moody's Analytics, in their private jobs assessment on Wednesday, said the economy actually lost 300,000 jobs in January.

President Joe Biden speaks about the January jobs report in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI

"Our country has taken everything that COVID has thrown at us, and we have come back stronger," President Joe Biden said after the release of the report. "America's job machine is going stronger than ever."

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Friday's labor snapshot also said there were almost 700,000 more jobs added in November and December than previously reported.

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"If you can't remember another year when so many people went to work in this country, there's a reason -- it's never happened," he added, calling the growth "historic economic progress."

"I want to be clear -- even with the extraordinary news ... we still have a lot of work to do."

Friday's report noted that employment nationwide has increased by 19.1 million since April 2020, but is still down by almost 3 million from its prepandemic level in February 2020.

The department said the leisure and hospitality sectors gained 151,000 jobs last month. Professional and business services added 86,000 jobs and retail trade employment 61,000.

Friday's report was much better received than the report for December, when the economy added a modest 199,000 jobs.

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