U.S. employers added 467,000 jobs in January, beating analyst expectations despite the surge in COVID-19 cases. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 4%. Year-over-year wage growth remained high at 5.7%.
467,000: Employers added 467,000 jobs in January.
4%: The unemployment rate rose slightly to 4%.
5.7%: Wages rose 5.7% over the past year.
Despite record numbers of COVID-19 cases across the country, employers beat analyst expectations to add 467,000 jobs to the U.S. economy in the first month of 2022. Additionally, the jobs numbers for November and December were revised up 700,000 over what was initially reported. According to MarketWatch, some experts had predicted an increase of only 150,000, while others had even expected a decrease in employment. Even the slight increase in the unemployment rate is good news, as it indicates more workers sidelined during the pandemic have reentered the labor market.
There weren’t many downsides to January’s report. However, there may have been some impact due to the Omicron variant. The Wall Street Journal reports that nearly 2 million workers were prevented from looking for a job in January because of the pandemic. Additionally, 7.8 million said they missed some work because of Omicron.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2022, economists will be watching some factors still holding back the economy, according to the New York Times. Supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages and high inflation have left Americans frustrated despite the fact that the unemployment rate has fallen faster than many experts predicted. Additionally, the strong recovery makes it likely that the Federal Reserve will raise interests rates in March, with traders predicting a half-point increase. Finally, employers and workers will be closely watching wages. Over the past year, wages have increased an average of 5.7%. While increasing wages are drawing more workers back into the labor market, they pose a challenge for employers.