US marks 100th straight month of job gains

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A ''now hiring'' sign hangs in the window of business in downtown Fargo, North Dakota [File: David Zalubowski/AP Photo]

The US economy added a whopping 304,000 jobs in January, marking the 100th straight month of consecutive job gains.

Workers also earned more last month. Average hourly wages rose $0.03 in January, up 3.2 percent from a year earlier.

The blockbuster report underscored the resilience of the US jobs market despite headwinds from the US government shutdown, trade tensions and slowing global growth.

Earlier this week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the five-week partial US government shutdown, triggered by the battle over President Donald Trump's border wall, took an $11bn bite out of the US economy.

While more than two-thirds of that is expected to be recovered as the government returns to business as usual, the CBO warned that $3bn of the total loss is permanent.

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During the shutdown, some 800,000 federal workers were furloughed or required to work without pay. Although they will receive back pay, many federal contractors, as well as businesses and individuals indirectly impacted by the shutdown may never recover lost income.

While the shutdown failed to derail private sector job creation, it did contribute to a slight uptick in the unemployment rate which, at four percent, remains near multi-decade lows.

The shutdown was also cited as a possible reason for an increase of half a million people working part-time who would rather have full-time jobs.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

Original Article

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