The U.S. economy added 517,000 jobs in January, unexpectedly high employment growth after predictions that job growth would slow as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates.
The unemployment rate was 3.4%, falling slightly from December.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that job growth was spread across industries, including leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and health care. There also was a rise in the government payroll.
The robust report belies some of the headlines of mass layoffs, particularly in the tech industry, as well as cutbacks in media.
According to the seasonally adjusted figures, jobs in movies and sound recordings were unchanged from a month earlier, at 465,900. But jobs in broadcasting and among content providers fell 2.7% to 355,900. Publishing industry employment fell 1.3% to 952,600. Telecommunications jobs fell 1.4% to 656,700.
Average hourly earnings on private payrolls rose by 10 cents to $33.03. Average hourly earnings have increased by 4.4% over the past 12 months.
"This is a breathtaking number," Justin Wolfers, professor at the University of Michigan, wrote on Twitter. "That spike in stories about layoffs? It was about a small unrepresentative slice of the economy. Real America is still getting back to work."
Still, the spike in job growth had some economists wondering if this was an accurate picture. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analyitics, wrote that the report was "so strong" that the Bureau of Labor Statistics was having "measurement issues."
"Most likely, difficulty seasonally adjusting the data, which is especially important in January. This January was the 5th warmest on record." he wrote.
He wrote that "I wouldn't take this data at face value. In fact, there is strong evidence based on complete employment counts from UI records, to which today's data will ultimately be benchmarked, that future revisions will show the economy created many fewer jobs over the past year."
The BLS often revises figures from previous months in its regular reports.
More to come.
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