WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – In a surprising bit of good news, employment rose in January by 467,000, higher than many economists’ expectations, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics report Friday.
The report said the economy has recovered 19.1 million jobs during the pandemic but we are still 2.9 million jobs shy of February 2020 levels.
The unemployment rate stayed relatively flat at 4%. Unemployment remains highest among teens (10.9%) and Black workers (6.9%). Little changed from the prior month.
This comes on the heels of a 301,000 job loss on private payrolls last month.
Another thing to note: In January, six million people reported that they were unable to work due to pandemic-related closures or lost business in the four weeks preceding the survey. That is almost double the 3.1 million who said the same in December.
Wage growth continues its upward trend. Average hourly earnings for all employees on nonfarm payrolls increased by 23 cents to $31.63, increasing by 5.7% over the past 12 months. At the same time, the number of people who left their jobs increased to 952,000 as the tight labor market continues.
The sectors that did the best last month include leisure and hospitality, particularly food and drinking places and accommodations, though the sector’s overall employment is still 10.3%, or 1.8 million jobs down from February 2020.
Professional and businesses services also added 86,000 jobs and retail 61,000.