The U.S. economy saw significant job gains in January, with employers expanding payrolls by 517,000 jobs. That figure far outpaces analysts’ expectations of about 190,000 new jobs.

The January jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also shows that employers added 71,000 more jobs than previously reported in November and December combined. In 2022, overall employment in the United States increased by 4.5 million jobs.

Unemployment rate hits a 54-year low

The national unemployment rate in January was 3.4%, edging down from 3.5% in December. January’s rate is the lowest since 1969.

The unemployment rate for college-degreed workers was 2.0% last month, ticking up slightly from 1.9% in December. These professionals are the most sought-after candidates by employers.

Separate data from the BLS shows that 11 million jobs in the United States were sitting open at the end of December.

Leisure and hospitality led job growth in January

The BLS reports that the leisure and hospitality industry saw significant employment gains last month with employers adding 128,000 positions. Education and health services also experienced high job growth, with employers expanding payrolls by 105,000 jobs.

Several other industries also reported notable job gains last month, including:

  • Professional and business services: 82,000 jobs added, including 25,900 jobs in temporary help services
  • Government: 74,000 jobs added
  • Retail trade: 30,100 jobs added
  • Construction: 25,000 jobs added
  • Transportation and warehousing: 22,900 jobs added
  • Manufacturing: 19,000 jobs added
  • Wholesale trade: 11,300 jobs added
  • Financial activities: 6,000 jobs added

Keep up with the latest hiring trends: Demand for Skilled Talent

Read the latest issue of Robert Half’s Demand for Skilled Talent report to get details on in-demand positions for several industries including accounting and finance, healthcare, administrative and customer support, and human resources. Get insight into employers’ hiring challenges and go-to retention strategies and explore local and remote hiring trends in the United States.

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

Additional resources from the Robert Half Blog

6 Tips for Hiring in a Tight Labor Market: Trying to hire and retain skilled talent in this highly competitive hiring environment? See this post for six measures that can help increase your chances of success.

How Seasonal Employees Can Help Your Workplace: When your business is facing a talent shortage, seasonal employees can provide vital support. In this post, learn how to find, hire and onboard these skilled workers quickly.

How to Tell If a Company Is Really Right for You: There’s a lot to consider when evaluating a potential employer — including how the company’s practices align with your personal needs and values. See this post for tips on assessing a company’s commitment to making the world a better place.

How to Work With a Recruiter to Land the Best Talent or Best Job in 2023: Working with a professional recruiter can give you a competitive edge — whether you’re an employer or a job candidate. Find out why in this post.