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US adds 304,000 jobs in January, nearly doubling economists' expectations

The unemployment rate also rose slightly to 4.0 percent

VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

The United States added 304,000 new jobs in January, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate climbed slightly from 3.9 percent to 4.0 percent.

Here's what we know

Before the jobs report had been announced, economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted that the country would add around 172,000 jobs. The actual number of 304,000, 1.8 times the estimate. According to the New York Times, the U.S. economy has now added jobs for 100 consecutive months.

While the new jobs report was higher than expected, the jobs report for December was adjusted down by 70,000 jobs from 312,000 jobs created that month to 222,000.

The average monthly gain for all of 2018 was 223,000.

Immediately following the release of the jobs report, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 51 points. However, the S&P 500 index rose less than 1 point, and the Nasdaq dropped by 37 points.

How did the shutdown affect jobs?

While the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the partial government shutdown cost the U.S. gross domestic product $11 billion ($8 billion of which is expected to be recovered later in the year), the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that it had little effect on hiring.

According to the Labor Statistics report:

In January, employment grew in several industries, including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing. There were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates of employment, hours, and earnings from the establishment survey.

Federal employees, who were furloughed but still had to work during the shutdown (roughly 800,000), were considered as employed for the BLS establishment survey, while those who were furloughed but did not work or get back pay (roughly 380,000) were considered to be unemployed during this period. This boosted the unemployment numbers, but the federal employees' eventual return to work was not included as new jobs added.

One last thing…
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