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Hiring Accelerated as U.S. Economy Added 353,000 Jobs in January

The Wall Street Journal

Jobs growth far outstripped economists’ expectations in January, the latest surprise delivered by a labor market that has repeatedly defied predictions of a significant slowdown.

Employers added a seasonally adjusted 353,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, the strongest in a year. December’s payroll gains were revised upward to 333,000 from 216,000, suggesting that higher interest rates haven’t cooled hiring as much as economists had previously thought.

The unemployment rate in January held steady at 3.7%. Wages also outpaced expectations, jumping 4.5% last month from a year earlier, though hours worked dropped—a possible result of bad winter weather, some analysts said.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had anticipated that Friday’s report would show that the economy added 185,000 new jobs in January and that the unemployment rate would tick up to 3.8%.

“The report was pretty universally positive,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, head of U.S. rates strategy at TD Securities. “We’ve seen strong gains on headline payrolls, strong revisions and the unemployment rate staying unchanged. It is showing that the labor market is doing better than previously expected.”

Bond yields surged after the report was released, a sign that investors feared the strong data would prevent the Federal Reserve from cutting interest rates as soon as they had hoped. The S&P 500 edged higher in morning trading.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note climbed to 4.001%, according to Tradeweb, from 3.862% Thursday. Yields rise when bond prices fall.

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