Trump's First Payroll Report: 227K Surge In Jobs, But Earnings Disappoint; Unemployment Rate Ticks Higher

Donald Trump's first official economic report has started off on the right foot, with the BLS reporting that some 227K jobs were added in January, far above the 175K expected, and in line with the ADP number.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised down from +204,000 to +164,000, and the change for December was revised up from +156,000 to +157,000. With these   revisions, employment gains in November and December combined were 39,000 lower than previously reported.

Offsetting the headline surge in jobs was a disappointment in the average hourly earnings which rose a tepid 0.1% , below the 0.3% expected, and below the downward revised December 0.2% (from 0.4%) despite January being the month in which minimum wage hikes took place across 19 states.

On the year, average hourly earnings rose by 2.5%, the weakest annual growth since August. In January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $21.84.

While the amount of average weekly hours for all employees remained flat at 34.4, the average weekly earnings dipped to 1.9%, the lowest print in the past year.

Judging by the market reaction, which has seen the dollar drop as stocks and bonds rose, this is a mildly dovish report and is likely to sow more doubts about the Fed's plane to hike rates three times in 2017.

Also of note, the unemployment rate ticked up from 4.7% to 4.8% even as the number of employed workers according to the Household survey declined modestly.

More details from the report:

  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in January. Employment increased in retail trade, construction, and financial activities.
  • Retail trade employment increased by 46,000 over the month and by 229,000 over the year. Three industries added jobs in January--clothing and clothing accessories stores (+18,000), electronics and appliance stores (+8,000), and furniture and home furnishings stores (+6,000).

    Employment in construction rose by 36,000 in January, following little change in December. Residential building added 9,000 jobs over the month, and employment continued to trend up among residential specialty trade contractors (+11,000). Over the past 12 months, construction has added 170,000 jobs.
  • Financial activities added 32,000 jobs in January, with gains in real estate (+10,000), insurance carriers and related activities (+9,000), and credit intermediation and related activities (+9,000). Financial activities added an average of 15,000 jobs per month in 2016.
  • In January, employment in professional and technical services rose by 23,000, about in line with the average monthly gain in 2016. Over the month, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+13,000).
  • Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in January (+30,000). This industry added 286,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
  • Employment in health care also continued to trend up in January (+18,000), following a gain of 41,000 in December. The industry has added 374,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
  • Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little change over the month.
  • The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in January. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, while overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 33.6 hours for the sixth consecutive month.
  • In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $26.00, following a 6-cent increase in December. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. In January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $21.84.



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