Jobs Report January 2022

February 6, 2022

Defying Expectations

The first jobs report for 2022 reflects strong hiring despite surging COVID-19 cases.
Here's what to know.

The Basics:

  • We receive jobs reports done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics most first Fridays of every month, with stats from the previous month.
  • These reports give us a snapshot of the employment picture in America.
  • A report is often described as “good” or “bad” depending on whether it met the expectations of Wall Street economists/analysts.
  • In January, employers hired more than 460,000 people – triple what Wall Street expected. The U.S. unemployment rate is 4%.
"… overall the job market is strong, particularly in the face of omicron. It’s hard to find a weak spot in this report.”

Kathy Jones, chief fixed income strategist at Charles Schwab, on January’s job numbers. Overall, the U.S saw job gains in industries hit hard by the pandemic: restaurants, retail and professional services. However, the economy retained 1.7 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic began.

Something To Consider:

  • Job numbers are NOT FINAL. We receive revisions in each report for previous months.
  • The latest report reflected HUGE revisions for previous months. December’s numbers (first reported as 199,000 jobs created) missed expectations, and ignited concerning headlines about America’s economy. The new number for December? 510,000 jobs created – BETTER than expectations. November’s disappointing numbers were also revised UP significantly from 249,000 to 647,000 – ALSO better than expected.
“I mean, it sounds counterintuitive to most people because revisions — they think, ‘Oh, they got it wrong the first time.’ But no, we got it right, based on what the sample told us."

Bureau of Labor Statistics Angie Clinton in November when The Washington Post reported on high revisions over the summer. Massive revisions have happened throughout the pandemic. One of the reasons for these corrections? Fewer businesses are responding (or taking longer than usual to respond) to the surveys used by the government to calculate job gains/losses.

While numbers can be revised up… they can also be revised down. Some of the revisions we’ve seen in the past year have been the largest upward revisions in decades.

by Jenna Lee,