U.S. employers added a robust 304,000 in January

U.S. employers added a robust 304,000 in January

USA economic growth is slowing from its rapid 2018 pace, but the continued robust gains in employment may cause pause to commentators that have been calling for recession.

Private economists had expected an increase of about 170,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to be unchangedat 3.9 percent.

The December jobs report was a series of numbers that range from fantastic to fantastical. Add Jobs Report as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Jobs Report news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Job growth increased broadly in January.

Hourly pay grew a token 0.1 percent over December but was up 3.2 percent over January of past year, well above consumer inflation of 1.9 percent in the same period, leaving American workers with greater purchasing power.

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US job growth surged in January, with employers hiring the most workers in 11 months, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite a darkening outlook that has left the Federal Reserve cautious about further interest rate hikes this year.

Unemployment rose slightly from 3.9 to 4 percent due to the effects of the shutdown as some 175,000 federal workers were temporarily unemployed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the initial response rate for the Establishment Survey was just 61%, the lowest since 2008. It jumped to 82.6% from 82.3% for prime working-age persons, the highest since April 2010 The rising prime working-age labor force participation rate suggests that confidence in job-finding prospects remain strong and that the potential labor supply is larger and more elastic than assumed.

The partial government shutdown caused 800,000 workers to miss two paychecks. Those factors have led many economists to forecast slower growth this year compared with 2018. The importance of the continued rise in work and labor market participation can not be overstated. Last week's applications for unemployment benefits came in at 253,000, above from the 49-year low hit earlier in the month but still low by historical standards. Since President Trump was elected in November 2016, the US economy has created over 5 million jobs. Workers have seen a streak of relatively robust gains as employers have had to pay more to attract them.

NOGUCHI: Well, as you mentioned, hiring was, surprisingly, very strong - 304,000. And a lot of the hiring was in restaurants and hotels, construction and health care.

However, the five-week government shutdown - the result of an impasse between the president and Congress over his plans for a wall on the US-Mexico border - was at least partly responsible for an uptick in the jobless rate to 4.0 percent, the highest in seven months.

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