Economy Notches 100th Straight Month of Increased Employment

Tested in January by a 35-day government shutdown, market volatility and uncertainty about global growth, the U.S. labor market passed with high marks, notching its 100th straight month of increased employment and sustaining robust wage growth.

Nonfarm payrolls increased a seasonally adjusted 304,000 in January, the Labor Department said Friday. The gain was well above last year’s average monthly job growth—showing most private-sector businesses shrugged off the shutdown and kept on hiring. Meanwhile, wages rose at better than a 3% rate from a year earlier for the sixth straight month, revised figures showed, extending the best pay improvements since the recession ended in 2009.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.0% last month from 3.9% in December. The Labor Department said the shutdown caused thousands of federal workers to be counted as on temporary layoff, contributing to the uptick. The rate has edged up the past two months since touching a 49-year low of 3.7% last fall.

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