The first jobs report of the year from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the U.S. economy got off to a strong start in 2017. Employers added 227,000 positions in January — more than analysts expected. January’s figures extend a record stretch of U.S. job growth to 76 consecutive months. Retail trade, professional and business services, and financial activities were among the industries contributing to last month’s gains.
The BLS also released revised job numbers for 2016, reporting that 85,000 more positions were created than previously reported. This brings the total number of jobs added last year to 2,242,000, or about 187,000 per month. That compares to about 226,000 per month, on average, in 2015.
In January, the national unemployment rate moved up slightly, to 4.8 percent, from 4.7 percent in December. The rate has been at or below 5.0 percent for 17 consecutive months. The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers who are 25 or older was unchanged from the previous month: 2.5 percent.
According to the latest figures from the BLS, the unemployment rates many professional-level roles were also well below the national average in the fourth quarter of 2016:
- Financial analysts: 1.0%
- Accountants and auditors: 1.3%
- Database administrators: 1.6%
- Software developers: 1.9%
- Paralegals and legal assistants: 2.2%
- Secretaries and administrative assistants: 3.2%
- Designers: 3.5%
At the same time, many jobs in the United States are waiting to be filled. The most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the BLS shows that more than 5.5 million jobs were open in November — essentially unchanged from October.