US Employers Added 304,000 Jobs During Shutdown

In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo an employment sign hangs from a wooden fence on the property of a McDonald’s restaurant in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

(CN) – Despite a partial government shutdown that lasted through most of January, the Labor Department said Friday that American employers added 304,000 jobs last month, continuing the longest job-creation streak on record.

January’s employment gain marks the 100th straight month of payroll growth and is the most new hires since last February, according to the government’s report.

“There were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours, and earnings,” the report states.

Analysts had predicted less than 200,000 new jobs last month. The better-than-expected growth was boosted by hiring in construction, health care and the leisure and hospitality industries.

Wages, however, only rose 0.1 percent from the previous month, the smallest increase since late 2017.

The unemployment rate ticked up from 3.9 to 4 percent, but that slight increase can be attributed to about 175,000 federal workers who were deemed temporarily out of work because of the government shutdown that ended last week. The 35-day shutdown was the longest in U.S. history.

The 312,000 new jobs reported in December was revised down sharply to 222,000, but overall hiring has beat expectations since last summer.

Friday’s jobs report comes two days after the Federal Reserve said it would not increase its key interest rate, citing a global economic slowdown.

“The situation calls for patience,” Chairman Jerome Powell said. “We have the luxury to be patient.”

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