According to CNBC, the employment picture started off 2023 on a great note, with payrolls posting their biggest gain since July 2022. Payrolls increased by 517,000 for January, above the Dow Jones estimate of 187,000 and December’s gain of 260,000, according to a Labor Department report on February 3.
The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, the lowest jobless level since May 1969. A broader measure of unemployment, including discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons, also increased to 6.6%.
Leisure and hospitality added 128,000 jobs to lead all sectors. Other significant areas were professional and business services (82,000), government (74,000), and healthcare (58,000). Retail was up 30,000 and construction added 25,000 jobs.
The spike in job creation comes despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to slow the economy and bring down record-high inflation. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates eight times since March 2022.
Wages also posted growth for the month, with the average earnings increasing by 0.3%. The gross domestic product also grew at a 2.9% pace in the fourth quarter of 2022.