Saturday, February 24, 2024

The US not only avoided a recession but also created hundreds of thousands of new jobs

U.S. companies achieved a surprising burst of hiring at the start of 2024, adding 353,000 jobs in January, in the latest sign of the economy’s ability to absorb the maximum interest rate for two decades.

A government report released on Friday found that jobs created in January—more than economists had predicted—surpassed the high figure of 333,000 in December. The unemployment rate remains at 3.7%, almost the lowest in half a century.

The unemployment rate has been below 4% for two years in a row, the longest streak since the 1960s.

Salaries also saw a surprising increase in January. Average hourly compensation rose 0.6% compared to December, the highest monthly increase in nearly two years, and 4.5% compared to January 2023. Marked hiring and salary increases could complicate or delay the Federal Reserve’s intention to begin reducing interest rates in the future.

The latest increase shows that employers are willing to continue hiring to respond to continued consumer spending. The election campaign, which is gaining momentum, depends in no small measure on how President Joe Biden’s economic management is viewed. Surveys reveal widespread discontent because, although inflation has eased, most prices remain above pre-pandemic levels. However, some recent polls show a gradual increase in public approval.

This week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that “the economy is performing well, and the labor market remains strong. The central bank made it clear that, as the long-awaited time to cut interest rates approaches, it will not be in a hurry to do this.

Friday’s jobs report showed broad hiring gains across all sectors. Professional and business services, a category that includes managers and technicians, added 74,000 positions. Health companies create 70,000, sell 45,000, governments at all levels 36,000, and manufacturers 23,000.

The unemployment rate has been below 4% for two years in a row, the longest streak since the 1960s.

World Nation News Desk
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