30-Second Update:  Jobs Report Exceeds Expectations/Wages Continue Higher

Despite a 35-day government shutdown, U.S. employers added 304,000 jobs in January, exceeding Wall Street’s expectation for an increase of 165,000 jobs.  The January increase represents 100 consecutive months of job additions!  Recently the Fed unanimously voted to keep the federal funds rate unchanged, along with a cautious approach to future interest rate hikes.  Josh Wright, the Chief Economist for iCIMS and former Federal Reserve staffer believes that, “The blowout jobs number could convince the Fed to reverse course before the end of the year.”

In addition to the exceptional jobs report, worker average hourly wage earnings in January rose 1.7% year-over-year, representing the largest gain since mid-2016.  Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester commented, “This is a welcome increase.  It gives workers more purchasing power, but because the pickup has been in line with productivity growth and inflation, it has not added to inflationary pressures.”