Despite the surge of Covid-19 cases related to the Omicron variant and the ensuring business closures, US employers added 467,000 jobs in January. The unemployment rate moved up to 4 percent, and average hourly earnings ticked up 0.7 percent. The average workweek dropped as well. To that end, the number of workers who are employed part time but would prefer full-time positions fell by about 200,000, to under 2.4 percent of all employed workers
To highlight how this increase was better than expected consider that due to cold, flu, covid, and other illnesses, 3.6 million Americans were absent from work in January. That’s over 2 percent of the entire workforce. The strong jobs numbers indicate that Fed will go ahead with their planned March interest rate hike to combat inflation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported employment growth continued in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in retail trade, and in transportation and warehousing. Gains in leisure and hospitality are good signs for New York City, as sluggish recovery there has led to the City’s slower recovery. As for transportation and warehousing, as the nation has learned, trucking plays a critical role in the US supply chain and economy. America’s truck drivers have been on the frontlines during the Covid-19 pandemic, delivering goods to every corner of the country. 72 percent of goods in America are shipped by truck, and in most communities, trucks are the only form of delivery (in New York City about 90 percent of goods come via truck). To accelerate the development of new trucking apprenticeship programs the Federal Government kicked off the 90 Day Trucking Apprenticeship Challenge in mid-December.
Lastly, with 2021 in the books, BLS released their revised job numbers. The revisions saw the summer jobs “boom” marked down while the November and December numbers shot up. Meaning that there was much less volatility month to month.