Economists Expected Lousy Jobs Report, Got the Opposite

Employers added 467K jobs in January, way above estimates
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2022 7:55 AM CST
Economists Expected Lousy Jobs Report, Got the Opposite
A hiring sign is placed at a booth during a job fair in the West Hollywood section of Los Angeles last September.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Economists were expecting a lousy jobs report on Friday, but it came in much stronger than expected. Employers seem to have weathered the omicron surge in January better than anticipated. The numbers:

  • Jobs: Employers added 467,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department reported. Estimates varied widely ahead of the release, notes CNBC. A common forecast was for a more modest gain of 150,000 jobs, but many analysts expected the number to actually decline because of the COVID variant. The outlet describes the final number as a "stunning gain."
  • The rate: The unemployment rate ticked up to 4% from 3.9%, which is still near historical lows, per the Wall Street Journal.

  • Context: This is the biggest monthly gain since October, all the more impressive because stats were collected when omicron was at its peak in the US, causing about 1 million new cases a day, notes the Washington Post. "The new numbers show that there is sufficiently strong momentum in the job market, enough so to keep chugging along despite a public health crisis," writes Emily Pack at Axios.
(Read more jobs report stories.)

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