U.S. payrolls hold at Omicron levels in January, surprisingly strong


The U.S. job market unexpectedly boycotted Omicron in January, even seeing the return of thousands of people who had stopped looking for jobs, showing Joe Biden saying “America is back to work.”

“America’s jobs machine is stronger than ever, providing a robust recovery and opportunity for the hardworking men and women of this great country,” the president said at the White House.

The Labor Department announced Friday that 467,000 jobs were created in January, well above expectations, as forecasts ranged from the most optimistic of nearly 200,000 jobs to the most pessimistic of 300,000 jobs destroyed.

In particular, the rankings rose in the leisure and hospitality, business services, retail trade, and transport and logistics sectors.

“Labor market: 1 – Omicron: 0,” Oxford Economics economists Kathy Bostjancic and Lydia Boussour noted in a note, noting that “the labor market has performed better than expected this year.”

Beginning in late December, the Omicron variant severely disrupted the U.S. economy. Consumers are avoiding restaurants, movie theaters, or deferring certain medical care until the wave passes, while a lack of staff has forced them to reduce many store hours.

As a result, 6 million workers found themselves unable to work at some point in January, almost double the number the previous month, due to Covid-related company closures.

– Return to the job market –

The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point to 4.0%. But paradoxically, that’s good news, as people who have left the workforce since the pandemic began are back in the workforce.

In fact, the participation rate rose to 62.2% from 61.9% in December, which should provide a breath of fresh air for employers who have been facing staffing shortages for months.

“This shows that workers [qui étaient] Highlighted by Kathy Bostjancic and Lydia Boussour.

It should also ease supply chain tensions caused by a lack of drivers and logisticians: “We’re not in a post-pandemic world (…), but the worst is definitely over,” says U.S. Commerce Secretary Jeremy Gilles Gina Raimondo.

ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak commented on Twitter that, on the one hand, the “most surprising statistic” in the report is that participation rates are on the rise “while 15 million people have Covid and schools are severely disrupted”.

On the other hand, she added, “employment in the leisure and hospitality sectors increased (…), while restaurant dining and travel decreased significantly”.

– Salary raise –

Another consequence of the labor shortage is that the average hourly wage in the private sector continues to climb, currently at $31.63, up 23 cents from December; it has increased 5.7% over the past 12 months.

A shadow remains, however, that inequality remains high, and the unemployment rate for black Americans (6.9 percent) is still double that of white Americans (3.4 percent).

Job creation in January was higher than in December, which was much higher than initially announced, with 510,000 jobs created instead of 199,000. We have revised full-year 2021 to account for new population data after the 2020 census: 217,000 more jobs were created than reported.

The data should fully convince the U.S. central bank (Fed) to start raising interest rates in March without worrying about the health of the labor market, which the agency’s president, Jerome Powell, recently described as “very, very sound.”

The Federal Reserve wants to tighten monetary policy to combat the highest inflation in 40 years, threatening the economic recovery.

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