Employers in America added 467,000 jobs last month, which is a testament to the resilience of the economy in the backdrop of an outbreak of omicron infections, according to a report.
The government’s report on February 4 also dramatically adjusted its estimate of job gains for November and December to 709,000 in total. The unemployment rate also increased from 3.9% to a low 4%, primarily since more people started searching for jobs, though they did not always find employment immediately.
The steady growth in hiring last month, which surpassed expectations for a mere increase, showed the determination of employers to fill vacancies even when the outbreak was raging. Employers seem to have considered the omicron virus to only have temporary impact on the economy. They remain optimistic about their long-term goals.
“Employers have assumed that omicron would be painful but short-term, so they haven’t changed their hiring plans,” said Mathieu Stevenson, the CEO of Snagajob, a job listings site focused on hourly workers. “Demand from employers is as strong as ever.”
The increase in January’s hiring rate and significant upward revisions from prior months indicate that the United States has 1.1 million more jobs than the government’s data indicated just one month ago. The steady hiring, coupled with steady wage increases, are helping tick up consumer spending and has been accompanied by a snarled supply chain to push inflation to a record-setting four decades.
Americans’ paychecks—adjusted for price hikes—on average do not go as far as they did in the past, even though many workers have gotten increases. Many families, especially low-income ones, struggle to pay for necessities such as rent, gas, food, and childcare.
These trends will allow the Federal Reserve to have more leeway to increase interest rates, possibly even more rapidly than thought, to curb the rate of inflation, the report added.
The Fed has said it is likely to begin increasing rates in March and may do it again in the next session in May. The faster rate increases may reduce the amount of borrowing and spending and even slow down the economy.
The outlook for the job market remains positive, with job openings close to a record level, the pace of layoffs slowing, and unemployment being at a healthy level.
The country gained more jobs last year that was adjusted for the workforce size than it has in any year prior to 1978. A large part of the improvement was the rebound from job losses in 2020 triggered by the recession caused by the pandemic.