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By: Beth Mace  |  February 07, 2020

225,000 Jobs Created in January, Above Consensus View

Economic Trends  |  Seniors Housing  |  Workforce

The Labor Department reported that there were 225,000 jobs added in January. This was more than the consensus estimate of 165,000 and marked the 112th consecutive month of job gains. For all of 2019, average monthly gains were less at 175,000. For 2018, monthly gains averaged 193,000 and for 2017, monthly gains averaged 176,000. The latter data points were revised from prior estimates.


Revisions also added several jobs to the prior two months. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised up by 5,000 from 256,000 to 261,000 and the change for December was revised up by 2,000 from 145,000 to 147,000. Combined, 7,000 jobs were added to the original estimates. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. After revisions, job gains have averaged 211,000 over the last three months.

Health care added 36,000 jobs in January and has added 361,000 jobs in the past twelve months. Ambulatory health care services added 23,000 jobs during the month and hospitals added 10,000.

The January unemployment increased to 3.6% from 3.5% in December when it was at a 50-year low. The underemployment rate was 6.9% from 6.7%.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose in January by seven cents to $28.44. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1%. For 2018, the year over year pace was 3.0% and in 2017 it was 2.6%. Reasons why wages are not growing faster include the retirement of highly paid baby boomers and relatively weak productivity growth.

The labor force participation rate, which is a measure of the share of working age people who are employed or looking for work inched up to 63.4% in January from 63.2% in December, which had been the highest since August 2013.

The January employment report will support the Fed’s “on hold” stance, at least for the time being. In December, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and signaled it would stay on hold through 2020, keeping the Fed and its policies on the sidelines during the election year.

About Beth Mace

Beth Burnham Mace is the Chief Economist and Director of Outreach at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). Prior to joining the staff at NIC, she served as a member of the NIC Board of Directors for 7 years and chaired NIC’s Research Committee. Ms. Mace was also a Director at AEW Capital Management and worked in the AEW Research Group for 17 years. While at AEW, Ms. Mace provided primary research support to the organization’s core and value-added investment strategies and provided research-related underwriting in acquisition activity and asset and portfolio management decisions. Prior to joining AEW in 1997, Ms. Mace spent ten years at Standard & Poor’s DRI/McGraw-Hill as the Director of the Regional Information Service with responsibility for developing forecasts of economic, demographic, and industry indicators for 314 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. Prior to working at DRI, she spent three years as a Regional Economist at the Crocker Bank in San Francisco. Ms. Mace has also worked at the National Commission on Air Quality, the Brookings Institution and Boston Edison. Ms. Mace is a member of the National Association of Business Economists (NABE), ULI’s Senior Housing Council, the Urban Land Institute and New England Women in Real Estate (NEWIRE/CREW). In 2014, she was appointed a fellow at the Homer Hoyt Institute and was awarded the title of a “Woman of Influence” in commercial real estate by Real Estate Forum Magazine and Globe Street. Ms. Mace is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (B.A.) and the University of California (M.S.). She has also earned The Certified Business Economist™ (CBE), which is the certification in business economics and data analytics developed by NABE. The CBE documents a professional’s accomplishment, experience, abilities, and demonstrates mastery of the body of knowledge critical in the field of economics and data analytics.

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