The U.S. economy saw significant job gains in January, with employers expanding payrolls by 467,000 jobs. That figure is well above analysts’ expectations of 150,000 new jobs.

The January jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also shows that employers added 709,000 more jobs than previously reported in November and December combined.

Professional and business services helped fuel job growth

The BLS reports that employers in leisure and hospitality expanded payrolls by 151,000 jobs last month, as businesses in that sector continued to rebound from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employment in professional and business services also surged in January, with employers adding 86,000 positions. Temporary help services accounted for about 26,000 of those new jobs.

These industries also helped to drive job gains in the U.S. economy last month:

  • Retail trade: 61,400 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 54,200 jobs added
  • Education and health services: 29,000 jobs added
  • Government: 23,000 jobs added
  • Information: 18,000 jobs added
  • Wholesale trade: 16,400 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 13,000 jobs added

Unemployment edges up to 4.0%

The national unemployment rate increased to 4.0% in January, up slightly from 3.9% in December.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers also ticked up, rising to 2.3% in January from 2.1% in December. These professionals are the most highly sought-after workers by employers.

Number of employed persons working remotely rises to 15.4%

In January, 15.4% of employed persons teleworked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, up significantly from 11.1% in December. The BLS describes these workers as employed persons who worked away from the office for pay at some point in the last four weeks specifically because of the coronavirus pandemic. The spread of the highly contagious omicron variant in January was likely a key factor for this increase.

Also, according to household survey supplemental data from the BLS, the number of people unable to work at all, or who worked fewer hours at some point in the four weeks preceding the latest survey due to the pandemic, nearly doubled from 3.1 million in December to 6.0 million in January.

Stay on top of the latest hiring trends

Don’t miss the current installment of Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report, which provides insight on the positions in highest demand in industries such as technology, accounting and finance, marketing and creative, and more. You’ll also learn about employers’ frustration with the “ghosting” trend among job candidates, the reasons many companies are struggling to hire their top picks, and what kinds of incentives today’s job seekers want most.

Check out The Demand for Skilled Talent report now on the Robert Half website.