Economists polled by Wall Street had forecast 150,000 new jobs, and many investors were even bracing for the first contraction in employment since December 2020 because so many workers were ill last month.
The government also revised figures for the end of last year, with the U.S. adding 510,000 jobs in December instead of 199,000. And employment rose by 647,000 in November compared with the prior estimate of 249,000. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose to 4% from 3.9%, while hourly wages rose 23 cents, or 0.7%, to $31.63 in January.
After Friday’s labor report, the likelihood of a half-point rate hike in March by the Fed went up to almost 35% Friday afternoon from 14% on Thursday, according to the CME FedWatch Tool. Investors now turn their attention to next week’s consumer-price index report.
Data released Friday showed that the U.S. gained a healthy 467,000 jobs in January and hiring was much stronger at the end of 2021 than originally reported, suggesting businesses did better at filling openings despite the omicron-variant wave of COVID-19.