The fact that job growth was so widespread across industries is a healthy sign.Lead economist at Glassdoor, Daniel Zhao, on the latest jobs report released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics on the nation’s job growth in January.
Big Picture: Job growth during the first month of 2024 beat expectations, with the economy adding 353,000 jobs. Job growth was seen in sectors including professional and business services, healthcare and retailers. Wages increased as well, however, average hours worked decreased. While January’s wintry weather may have been contributing factor to this drop, chief economist at ZipRecruiter Julia Pollak notes: “When consumer demand slackens, companies often cut workers’ hours before they cut payroll. Today’s reading could be a warning sign that demand for workers is softening and that job cuts are looming.’’
Why It Matters: Recent data on the U.S. economy paints “a complicated picture,” as CNBC describes. While the headline jobs report offers “a healthy sign,” earlier this week, UPS announced it will lay off 12,000 workers because of higher costs and “lower volume” (a slower economy leads to fewer deliveries). UPS is not alone – other big companies laying off workers? Google. Amazon. Microsoft. Macy’s. The government data doesn’t reflect these announced layoffs yet, so the labor market remains a topic to watch.
Read More: The US didn’t just avoid a recession — it’s adding hundreds of thousands of new jobs (The Associated Press)
by Leah Grainery, based in Texas