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3 things to know about the January 2015 jobs report

U.S. employers came out swinging in the New Year. See highlights from today’s jobs report.


U.S. employers came out swinging in the New Yearwith a strong January 2015 jobs report,which was released this morning. The U.S. economy added 257,000 jobs in January — more than economists had been expecting — and there were also a few other positive surprises sprinkled throughout the report.

Here are three things to know from today's report:

1. Solid numbers all around — and labor force participation increased. U.S. employers added 257,000 jobs in January, beating expectations. And even though the unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 5.6 percent to 5.7 percent, it's not necessarily bad news because in this case the labor force participation rate increased, which means a greater number of Americans entered the labor force. As The New York Times explained:

That uptick in the unemployment rate? It happened not because fewer people had jobs, but because the size of the labor force rose by a whopping 703,000 in January after annual population adjustments.

2. Everyone's buzzing about November and December revisions. And you should, too. Both months posted massive gains compared to what was previously reported. The BLS revised November's numbers up by a whopping 70,000 (from 353,000 to 423,000), while December's numbers were revised up by 77,000 (from 252,000 to 329,000). That's a total of 147,000 additional jobs. Significant? Yes. As The Wall Street Journal reported:

November's overall job gain — 423,000, revised up from the prior 353,000 figure — was the biggest since May 2010, when the government was hiring Census workers. November private-sector hiring was the most since September 1997.

3. Wages are slowly picking up. Remember how we talked about the stagnation of wages last month? (Here's last month's recap, if you want to refresh your memory.) Average hourly earnings in January, however, took a slight turn for the better increasing by 12 cents to $24.75. That's a 2.2 percent jump from last January. Will the upward trend continue in the months to come? With talk about wages heating up across the country, you can expect this topic to continue to be front and center for months to come.

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