US Bureau of Labor Statistics

For the fourth consecutive month overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. It was 4.8 percent a year ago in December 2017.

The civilian labor force participation rate also remained unchanged in January, at 62.7 percent. The participation rate has remained fairly steady since October of 2013.

The employment-population ratio remained steady at 60.1 percent in January. After a consistent increase since July 2011, the overall the employment-population ratio seems to have levelled out since the beginning of 2017.*

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 200,000 in January. The payroll employment numbers for both November and December of 2017 were adjusted. Total employment gains for those months are now 24,000 fewer than previously reported.

The unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree remained at 2.1 percent in January.

*It should be noted that as of January 2016, updated population estimates are being utilized when calculating employment data. BLS did not modify previous months utilizing the new estimates, so if comparing data from 2016 to earlier months, understand that there will be slight differences in the way the data was derived.

Some details directly from the BLS report:


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 200,000 in January. Employment continued to trend up in construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing.

Construction added 36,000 jobs in January, with most of the increase occurring among specialty trade contractors (+26,000). Employment in residential building construction continued to trend up over the month (+5,000). Over the year, construction employment has increased by 226,000.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in January (+31,000). The industry has added 255,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Employment in health care continued to trend up in January (+21,000), with a gain of 13,000 in hospitals. In 2017, health care added an average of 24,000 jobs per month.

In January, employment in manufacturing remained on an upward trend (+15,000). Durable goods industries added 18,000 jobs. Manufacturing has added 186,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, professional and business services, and government, changed little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 0.2 hour to 34.3 hours in January. In manufacturing, the workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.6 hours, while overtime remained at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 33.6 hours.

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents to $26.74, following an 11-cent gain in December. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 75 cents, or 2.9 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 3 cents to $22.34 in January.