The United States economy got off to a strong start in 2020, as there were 225,000 jobs added in January, according to a U.S. Labor Department report released on Friday.
The job gains of 225,000 far outpaced the 164,000 projection by economists. Hiring slowed in 2019 compared to 2018, however, the job market remained relatively strong.
The unemployment rate went up a tick from 3.5% to 3.6%, however, that’s because the labor force participation rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 63.4% — the highest level since June 2013. The participation rate, which the share of the population that is working or looking for work, has been edging up despite the wave of Baby Boomers retiring.
The growth of the labor force means the strong economy is giving opportunities to people who were left out of the early stages of recovery. Michelle Meyer, chief United States economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch told The New York Times that this is good news, because it means that companies can continue to add jobs without running short on workers.
“It means we don’t have to settle for a lower pace of job growth,” Meyer said. “Not only is there demand for labor, there’s supply to fill that demand, and that’s a very positive narrative.”
About the Author
Brett Christie is a staff writer at WorldatWork.