The U.S. economy is growing at a healthy clip.
In January 2018, employers added 200,000 jobs, as compared to analysts’ projections for 180,000.
This now marks the 88th straight month of jobs gains, and leaves the unemployment rate unchanged at 4.1% -- a 17-year low.
Employers added 36,000 construction jobs. Bars and restaurants added 31,000. Healthcare jobs increased by 21,000.
Manufacturing jobs were up by 15,000, increasing the number of manufacturing jobs added under the Trump presidency to 186,000. In November 2016, there were 12,339,000 people employed by manufacturers. That number is now up to 12,555,000 – the best number reported since January 2009.
"Perhaps the biggest positive surprise on hiring is the continued surge for the goods-producing sector with manufacturing and construction leading the way," said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com's senior economic analyst, as quoted by CNBC.
Economists also believe that we could see even more construction and manufacturing jobs added in the New Year if Donald Trump’s infrastructure plans become reality.
"If we see anything with infrastructure spending from Trump, we will get even more hiring and wage growth simply because of the shortage of workers in construction," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, as quoted by CNN.
Granted, retail was soft with an addition of only 15,000 jobs. But that’s normal as many temporary workers are let go after the holiday season.
But there’s more good news.
Average hourly earnings were also up 0.3% month over month, matching estimates and reflecting an annualized gain of 2.9%. That’s the best increase since the middle of 2009.
"We are really firing on all cylinders," says Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS, as quoted by CNN. "It just shows how broad the growth and the positive feelings are across the economy."
Going forward, analysts look for even lower unemployment.
According to Morningstar, “unless employment slows dramatically, the unemployment rate will go to 3.5% in 2019. That would be a 50-year low for the jobless rate.”
These are exciting times, and The Cheap Investor will keep you informed. Stay tuned.