Private Payrolls Show Surprising Strength in January, Adding 444,000 Jobs

U.S. nonfarm payrolls added 467,000 jobs in January, easily beating expectations. The January data reflect annual benchmark revisions as well as updates to seasonal adjustments. The revised data now show more robust payroll growth over the past 13 months with an average monthly gain of 549,000 (see first chart). Private payrolls posted a 444,000 gain in January with revised data now showing an average monthly gain of 514,000 (see first chart). Both total nonfarm payrolls and private payrolls are less than 2 percent below their February 2020 peaks (see second chart) with total nonfarm down by 2.9 million and private payrolls down by 2.1 million.  At the current average monthly gain, both should completely recapture losses within six months.

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