This shift is largely due to the partial government shutdown.
The economy added 304,000 jobs in January, significantly more than economists had expected. "A whopping half million more people forced into part time instead of full time for economic reasons in January", tweeted Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. Equity markets may continue to stumble as they try to decipher the global policy landscape, but the underlying Main Street economy in the United States remains solid.
The partial government shutdown has delayed the release of a range of government data about the economy, including statistics on housing, factory orders, and fourth-quarter growth.
The continued hot pace of job growth is evidence that people who may have been sidelined by the Great Recession more than a decade ago are still coming off the sidelines.
USA sets deadlines in Venezuela oil sanctions
European governments are also considering sanctions, which would cut off Venezuela's ability to do business in euros as well. A Reuters poll showed that OPEC pumped 30.98 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, down 890,000 bpd from December.
Federal employees, who were furloughed but still had to work during the shutdown (roughly 800,000), were considered as employed for the BLS establishment survey, while those who were furloughed but did not work or get back pay (roughly 380,000) were considered to be unemployed during this period. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
The healthcare sector was undeterred by the government shutdown that went on for most of January, making 41,600 new hires last month and almost 20,000 more new hires as compared to January 2018. Employment in the leisure and hospitality industry added 74,000 jobs, while construction added 52,000 positions in January.
But consumer confidence fell in January for a third straight month as Americans' optimism dimmed amid the shutdown and sharp drops in the stock market. "Federal workers, many of them veterans, saw their financial security shaken, their credit ratings harmed, and their lives upended by the longest shutdown in history".
With its January employment report, the government published its annual "benchmark" revisions and updated the formulas it uses to smooth the data for regular seasonal fluctuations.
North said the rate is almost a ideal number, "not too hot" so as to spark fears of inflation, but "not too cold" to raise concerns about wage stagnation. Notable gains occurred in the retail sector (21,000), transportation and warehousing (27,000), and education and health services (55,000). Labor force participation grew slightly, to its highest level since 2013. Hiring was likely boosted by mild temperatures in January. We believe this to be the most important labor market development in recent years that explains the stronger-than-expected job growth and healthy but constrained wage gains.
"This is the sweet spot for investors right now", Long said.