- While hirings and steady wage gains boosted consumer spending, inflation remained a concern.
- The strong January hirings showed employers are keen to employ even as the pandemic raged.
- The Fed is considering raising the interest rates in March as part of efforts to cool inflation.
US employers added a robust 467,000 jobs in January, defying a wave of omicron infections. The government has also drastically revised the job growth figures for November and December to 709,000.
The data from the Labor Department showed the unemployment rate rose to 4% from 3.9%, still considered low, mainly because people did not find the right jobs, although there are openings.
The strong January hirings showed employers are keen to employ even as the pandemic raged.
Businesses seemed confident about their longer-term prospects from their belief that omicron would only temporarily impact the economy.
While hirings and steady wage gains have boosted consumer spending, inflation remained a concern. The Federal Reserve is considering raising the interest rates in March as part of efforts to cool inflation.
The central bank has indicated that it might go for a second-rate hike in May.
The labor data shows most industries hired workers last month, including retailers, which added over 61,000 jobs, and restaurants and hotels added 131,000.
Shipping and warehousing companies added 54,000 jobs.
The number of Americans working from home rose to over 15%, up from 11% in December, suggesting that the Omicron wave has forced people to stay indoors for fear of contracting the disease.
Retailers, restaurants, manufacturers also had to reduce the work hours as more people got sick, whose number rose to 3.6 million from 2 million in the same month a year ago. According to an estimate, around one-fifth of US workers get no sick pay. The proportion is higher among low-paid workers.
The overall outlook for the US job market remains strong. The job openings were near record highs, layoffs were down, and the unemployment rate remained healthy.
The country added more jobs last year than in any year since 1978.