Feb 02, 2018

Putting U.S. Employment Numbers in Context – January 2018

Post by Derek Yale

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate for January 2018 remained at 4.1 percent and that the economy gained 200,000 jobs.

Today marks the first look at how the labor market changed during the Trump administration’s first year, where the economy gained a total of more than 2.1 million jobs, at an average rate of nearly 176,200 jobs per month. The largest private sector job gains were seen in education and health services, as well as professional and business services. Additionally, during that time average hourly earnings for all private sector employees rose nearly 3 percent, while the unemployment rate dropped 0.7 percentage points. While the private sector improved overall, retail jobs decreased over the past year due in part to efficiency improvements, such as businesses increasing automation through self-checkout lanes, and customers turning to online shopping over traditional brick-and-mortar outlets.

After months of work by congressional leaders and members of the administration, President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law late last year. This historic legislation is already spurring job creation, making businesses more competitive, and improving the lives of millions of Americans. To date over 200 businesses have already announced plans to invest in the economy and giving more money back to employees.

Below is a deeper look at the numbers from today’s report, what they say about the state of the U.S. labor market, and how the Trump administration is tracking after the first year.