(WASHINGTON) — Hiring jumped last month as U.S. employers added a robust 225,000 jobs, bolstering an economy that faces threats from China’s viral outbreak, an ongoing trade war and struggles at Boeing.
The Labor Department also said Friday that a half-million people streamed into the job market in January, though not all of them found jobs. That influx meant more people were counted as unemployed, and it boosted the jobless rate to 3.6% from a half-century low of 3.5% in December.
The government’s monthly jobs report suggested that businesses remain confident enough in the economy to keep hiring, with the pace of job growth accelerating from a year ago. Solid consumer spending is offsetting drags from the trade war and declining business investment.
Despite the brisk pace of hiring, hourly pay is up just 3.1% from a year earlier, below a peak of 3.5% last fall, though still above the inflation rate.
The public’s confidence that jobs are plentiful is helping persuade more people without jobs to begin looking for one. Last month, 61.2% of American adults had jobs, the highest proportion since November 2008.
Unusually warm weather likely played a role in strengthening the January job gain, with construction companies adding 44,000 positions, the most since last year. Better winter weather allows more construction projects to proceed.
Americans are also buying more homes, buoyed by lower borrowing costs that stem in part from the Federal Reserve’s three interest rate cuts last year. In December, home construction su
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