The momentum in the U.S. labor market picked up in January, with companies adding 227,000 jobs in the month, according to government data released Friday morning. The pace of hiring surpassed the expectations of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, who had forecast an increase of 175,000 in nonfarm payrolls, roughly in line with gains in the previous year, The Washington Post reports.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8 percent, as more workers joined the workforce to look for jobs. Wages rose by 3 cents to $26, following a 6-cent increase in December.
The first employment report since Donald Trump began his presidency showed the economy chugging along at a relatively healthy pace.
Investors have looked kindly on Trump’s pledges to slash taxes, reduce regulations and pump money into infrastructure through tax credits, believing they are likely to boost economic growth. Stock markets have rallied since the election, with the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq both gaining more than 5 percent, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rising 4.5 percent.
Tom Gimbel, founder and chief executive of the staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle Network, said he had seen expectations for Trump to benefit the business sector taper somewhat in recent weeks. But overall, companies remain positive about the direction of the economy and the policy changes Trump vows to make. “The CEOs, chief financial officers and heads of human resources that we’re talking to are still very bullish,” said Gimbel.
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