New York (CNN) — The US economy added a stunning 353,000 jobs last month, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday, registering a stronger-than expected gain to kick off 2024.
The unemployment rate remained at 3.7% from the month before. It’s the 24th consecutive month that the nation’s jobless rate has been under 4%.
Most industries added jobs last month, with health care and social assistance posting the largest gains of 100,400, according to BLS.
Hiring accelerated from December, which had far stronger employment growth than previously estimated. December’s job gains were revised higher by 117,000 positions to total 333,000 for the month. November was revised up as well, but only by 9,000 jobs, to a 182,000 net job gain.
January’s gains blew economists’ expectations out of the water: Consensus forecasts had called for a net gain of 176,500 jobs last month, according to FactSet.
Still, economists have cautioned that the January report is among the trickiest to forecast because it’s typically a big month for job losses (with seasonal workers being let go after the holidays and other businesses doing some new year’s belt-tightenting). Additionally, the BLS applies new seasonal adjustment factors at the start of the year to help smooth out the data and better understand the trends.
For these reasons, some economists told CNN this week that it’s possible January would deliver an upside surprise.
They got one.
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