January 2023 Employment Summary

  • On February 16, 2023

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It’s a new year for many looking to refresh their career or find opportunities more suitable to their needs. Staff Solve strives to assist employers and job seekers with information and process hiring, but the overall economic picture of employment trends in the United States and possible factors involved.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 517,000 in January, resulting in the unemployment rate having little change at 3.4%. The unemployment rate has shown little net movement since early 2022. The number of persons jobless for less than 5 weeks decreased to 1.9 million for the month. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.1 million. The long-term unemployed accounted for 19.4% of the total unemployed in January. 

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.4%, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.2%, were unchanged after removing the effects of the annual adjustments to the population controls. These measures have shown little net change since early 2022 and remain below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels, 63.3% and 61.1%, respectively. The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons, at 4.1 million, was little changed for the month. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. 

Since total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 517,000 in January, and compared with an average monthly gain of 401,000 in 2022, job growth can be seen from the data collected. Gains were significant in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care. Employment also increased in government, partially reflecting the return of workers from a strike. Leisure and hospitality added 128,000 jobs, compared with an average of 89,000 jobs per month in 2022. Over the month, food services and drinking places added 99,000 jobs, while employment continued to trend up in accommodation (+15,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality remains below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 495,000, or 2.9%.

In January, employment in professional and business services rose by 82,000, led by gains in professional, scientific, and technical services (+41,000). Job growth in professional and business services averaged 63,000 per month in 2022. Government employment increased by 74,000. Employment in state government education increased by 35,000, reflecting the return of university workers after a strike. Health care added 58,000 jobs, with job growth occurring in ambulatory health care services (+30,000), nursing and residential care facilities (+17,000), and hospitals (+11,000). In 2022, healthcare added an average of 47,000 jobs per month.

Employment in retail trade rose by 30,000 in January, following little net growth in 2022 (an average of +7,000 per month). Job gains were noted in general merchandise retailers (+16,000) and in furniture, home furnishings, electronics, and appliance retailers (+7,000), and were partially offset by a decline in health and personal care retailers (-6,000). Construction added 25,000 jobs, reflecting an employment gain in specialty trade contractors (+22,000). Employment in the construction industry grew by an average of 22,000 per month in 2022. Transportation and warehousing added 23,000 jobs, the same as the industry’s average monthly gain in 2022. Over the month, employment in support activities for transportation increased by 7,000.

Employment in social assistance increased by 21,000, a little different from the 2022 average gain of 19,000 per month. Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in January (+19,000). In 2022, manufacturing added an average of 33,000 jobs per month. Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, such as mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and other services.

For January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $33.03. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.4%. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 7 cents, or 0.2%, to $28.26.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.3 hour to 34.7 hours in January. In manufacturing, the average workweek increased by 0.4 hour to 40.5 hours, and overtime increased by 0.1 hour to 3.1 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.2 hour to 34.1 hours. 

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised up by 34,000, from +256,000 to +290,000, and the change for December was revised up by 37,000, from +223,000 to +260,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined were 71,000 higher than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process also contributed to the November and December revisions.

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