Unexpectedly strong jobs report - 'Economy is thriving'

US employers added 304,000 jobs in January, soaring past expectations

But data for November and December was revised down to show 70,000 fewer jobs created than previously reported.

Some of the best forecasters in the country had predicted job gains of about 170,000, a substantially lower figure.

Non-farm payrolls grew by 304,000 in January 2019, far exceeding the 165,000 jobs expected. Average weekly earnings fared better, rising 3.5 percent year-over-year. Manufacturing payrolls increased by only 13,000 in January, reflecting the more downbeat sentiment in an array of industrial sectors that are vulnerable to slower global growth.

Even though the shutdown was not expected to interrupt the average 200,000 jobs per month that have been added over the last decade, some in the White House had been bracing for weaker-than-expected results.

The new numbers were welcome news for President Donald Trump, whose already-low public approval rating suffered in the wake of the longest government shutdown in USA history. The Labor Department reported that 490,000 more people were working part-time in January but wanted full-time work, and the department noted that this "may reflect the impact of the partial federal government shutdown".

The shutdown didn't necessarily affect that number as furloughed federal workers were counted as "temporary layoffs" rather than unemployed.

Employment gains were led by the leisure and hospitality sector, which has added 410,000 jobs over the past year. That left the annual increase in wages at 3.2 percent.

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In January, average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers rose by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to 27.56 US dollars, following a 10-cent gain in December. Those who continued to work through the shutdown without pay were marked "employed" in both surveys. The central bank, which raised rates four times a year ago, did not raise rates and cited "global economic and financial developments" and low USA inflation as reasons to be patient before changing rates again. Wages have risen by 3.2 percent since this time previous year. The economy added 304,000 jobs in January despite some economic concerns and the federal government shutdown.

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard on Friday defended the central bank's policy stance, telling CNBC that the jobs numbers were backward looking, and Dallas Fed chief Robert Kaplan called the payrolls report "noisy", pointing to a sharp rise in part-time jobs.

China's economy is decelerating sharply and Italy's economy has entered recession, exacerbating fears that slower global growth will cut into USA exports. But in the other survey, which measures the jobless rate, a lot of these same workers were counted as unemployed. By contrast, the overall economy has increased the number of jobs by 1.9%-and 0.2% last month.

"I am right now planning our first family vacation in three years", she said.

But consumer sentiment dropped to a more than two-year low, a reminder of the uncertainty over the economic expansion, now in its ninth year and the second longest on record.

The average workweek was unchanged at 34.5 hours in January.

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