What we learned from January’s surprise jobs report

Robert Eisenbeis

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the economy created 467,000 jobs in the month of January while the unemployment rate remained constant at 4% as did the participation rate (62.2%). This number was about twice the 207,000 predicted by some economists and notably different from the 301,000 job losses predicted by ADP.

Most of the job gains were in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and transportation and warehousing.  While the economy is creating jobs, there has been a steady decline in the number of new jobs created each month since October 2021, a trend which is consistent with a potential slowdown in real GDP growth. This trend seems contrary to the strong positive reaction of some to nearly half a million jobs being created in January.