January 2024 Employment Summary

  • On February 23, 2024

As 2023 comes to a close, many job seekers are hoping for a new chapter to begin with employment opportunities. Learn more about employment expectations for the new season based on data from our latest employment summary. Staff Solve strives to assist employers and job seekers not only 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 353,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, and social assistance.

Both the unemployment rate, at 3.7 percent, and the number of unemployed persons at 6.1 million changed little in January. This is the third consecutive month that it has been 3.7 percent.

In January, the labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.5 percent. The employment-population ratio, at 60.2 percent, changed little this month. The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons, at 4.4 million, changed little in January. 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.

The number of persons in the labor force who currently want a job was 5.8 million in January. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job. Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force changed little at 1.7 million in January. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the  marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, increased to 452,000 in January.

Professional and business services added 74,000 jobs in the month of January, which is substantially higher than the average 14,000 jobs in 2023. In January, employment in temporary help services changed little (+4,000), but is down by 408,000 since reaching its peak in March 2022. Employment in professional, scientific, and technical services added 42,000 jobs in January.

Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including construction, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and other services.

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 19 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $34.55. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.5 percent. In January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 13 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $29.66.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.2 hours to 34.1 hours in January and is down by .5 hour over the year. In manufacturing, the average workweek was unchanged at 39.8 hours, and overtime went down slightly by 0.1 hours to 2.7 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.2 hours to 33.5 hours.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised up by 9,000, from +173,000 to +182,000, and the change for December was revised up by 117,000, from +216,000 to +333,000. With these revisions, employment in November and December combined is 126,000 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.

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