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Despite employment gains below projections, U.S. unemployment through January 2016 is below 5% for the first time since the great recession began in 2008. However, jobs in the energy sector, especially oil & gas jobs, are hard to come by. The first Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report of 2016 has some other interesting information, as well.
A Reuters poll of economists projected January growth around 190,000. The reported 151,000 fell below that mark, but comfortably exceeded the 100,000 barrier Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said in December were necessary each month of 2016. to stay on pace with the working-age population.
Moreover, the job market continued its growth despite global stock exchange turbulence, and is expected to in the months to come. The Society of Human Resources (SHRM) released its Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) report this week, just days ahead of the Jan. BLS numbers.
The LINE report forecasts continued recruiting efforts in February, particularly in the service sector. Service-based jobs buoyed job growth to start 2016, most notably retail, which added 58,000 jobs, and healthcare, which added 24,000.
Manufacturing, which climbed in January per the BLS, should taper off into February. However, the growth in retail is a promising sign for consumer spending, which in 2015 reached its lowest collective point since 2009.
The Georgetown Institute for Consumer Research reported January spending 40 percent higher than January 2015. That's a strong note on which to start the new year.
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