U.S. employers added 304,000 jobs in January, soaring past expectations

Treasury yields jumped on Friday after the Labor Department said the American economy added more than 300,000 jobs and more people entered the workforce in the month of January.

U.S. employers added 304,000 jobs in January, soaring past Wall Street’s expectations for an increase of 165,000 jobs, seemingly brushing off a 35-day government shutdown as investors braced for mixed results. It was the 100 straight month of gains.

The unemployment rate climbed to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, while the labor force participation rate rose slightly to 63.2 percent. Average hourly earnings, meanwhile, rose by 3 cents to $27.56. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by a total of 85 cents, or about 3.2 percent.

The report is also indicative that despite recent geopolitical turmoil — US-China trade tensions and uncertainty over the Brexit deal in Europe — the U.S. economy will manage to shake off any market volatility, according to Josh Wright, the chief economist for iCIMS and a former Federal Reserve staffer.

Wright, however, warned that the better-than-expected number could complicate the dovish narrative the Fed is currently pushing.

On Wednesday, policymakers at the U.S. central bank unanimously voted to keep the benchmark federal funds rate unchanged, while signaling a patient approach to future interest rate hikes.

“We still see sustained expansion of ecnomic activity, strong labor conditions and inflation near 2 percent,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said at the time. “But the crosscurrents suggest a less favorable outlook.”

But the blowout jobs number could convince the Fed to reverse course before the end of the year, according to Wright.

“As the shutdown fades into the past (and if another one doesn’t do more damage), the Fed will lose one of its arguments for pausing, leaving it to rely on global headwinds, trade and Brexit uncertainty,” he said. “Financial conditions have already improved considerably. It’s going to be a rocky quarter or two for the U.S. central bank, with a lot of risk to its credibility. Yet if markets find the Fed credible, implied interest-rate volatility should be restrained.”

Jobs numbers follow a report released on Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP, which revealed the private sector added 213,000 jobs in December, beating analysts’ expectations of 178,000 jobs.

Analysts anticipated that unemployment would hold steady at 3.9 percent, one of the lowest numbers in nearly 50 years, while forecasting the creation of 165,000 jobs, according to economists polled by Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters). In December, job creation was revised to 222,000, down from the original better-than-expected 312,000.

Initially, the White House was bracing for a potentially negative jobs number in January when the Department of Labor releases the payroll data. However, U.S. labor officials said last week they would count the once-furloughed workers as employed because they’re getting paid retroactively once the government is up and running again.

However, the job creation was not coupled with robust wage growth; average hourly earnings rose just three cents on the month, or 0.1 percent, well below the 0.3 percent expected gain. Yields also jumped after the Institute for Supply Manufacturing said activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January.

The short-term 2-year rate rose 5 basis points to 2.504 percent. The yield on the long-term 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.677 percent at 10:12 a.m. ET. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

The United States Signs a Stronger Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada

REBALANCING OUR TRADE RELATIONSHIP: President Donald J. Trump kept his promise to deliver a modern and rebalanced trade deal to replace NAFTA.

  • Today in Argentina, the United States is joining Canada and Mexico to sign a new trade agreement that will better serve the interests of American workers and businesses.
    • This follows the President’s announcement in October that a deal had been reached.
  • The new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) will replace the outdated, failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • With the signing of this agreement, President Trump has delivered on his promise to renegotiate NAFTA and protect American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers.

SECURING A STRONGER DEAL FOR AMERICAN INDUSTRIES AND WORKERS: USMCA is a stronger deal for American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers.

  • USMCA will help incentivize billions of dollars in additional vehicle and auto parts production in the United States.
  • The agreement includes updated rules of origin that require 75 percent of auto content to be produced in North America.
  • American autoworkers will benefit from rules that incentivize the use of high-wage manufacturing labor in the auto sector.
    • This includes a requirement that 40-45% of a vehicle consist of content manufactured by North American workers making at least $16 per hour.
  • USMCA’s labor and environment chapters are fully enforceable and represent the strongest labor and environmental provisions of any trade agreement ever negotiated.
    • Mexico agreed to historic labor reforms to provide for genuine collective bargaining.
    • The agreement prohibits the importation of goods produced by forced labor.
  • The agreement includes provisions that allow agriculture products to be traded more fairly.
    • Canada will end its “Class 6” and “Class 7” programs that allow low-priced dairy products to undersell American dairy producers.
    • Canada will increase market access for United States dairy products, eggs, and poultry.

REFORMING TRADE FOR THE 21st CENTURY: USMCA modernizes our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico to reflect the realities of the 21st century. 

  • The new agreement includes a modernized chapter that provides stronger and more comprehensive intellectual property protections than any prior United States trade agreement.
    • These protections are vital to promoting innovation and economic growth.
    • USMCA includes robust copyright protection, 10 years of data protection for biologic drugs, and new protections against the theft of trade secrets.
  • USMCA includes the strongest digital trade and financial services provisions of any United States trade agreement.
    • New rules ensure that data can be transferred cross-border and that limits on where data can be stored are minimized.
  • USMCA will cut red tape at the border, streamline trade, and reduce regulatory uncertainty.
  • The agreement includes a currency chapter that will help reinforce transparency and stability.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Announces Henry Childs, II as National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that Henry Childs, II will be the new National Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Mr. Childs will be the 17th National Director of the agency.

Established by an Executive Order in 1969, MBDA is the only Federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses.

“Mr. Childs’ commitment to economic development in minority communities is an unrivaled asset to the Department of Commerce,” said Secretary Ross. “In his new role, I fully expect him to continue to vigorously pursue opportunities and growth for minorities as well as the country as a whole.”

In addition to his appointment as the National Director of MBDA, Mr. Childs serves as the Policy Advisor to the White House’s Office of Public Liaison where he leads the Administration’s outreach to the African American community. He also works closely with the Office of American Innovation on economic development issues for urban areas and urban revitalization.

“I am honored to be selected by Secretary Ross to lead the Minority Business Development Agency”, said Mr. Childs. “I look forward to working with the dedicated team at MBDA as we blaze the agency’s path into the future.”

Prior to his appointment as the National Director of MBDA, Mr. Childs served as the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Initiatives for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

As Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Initiatives, he provided counsel on economic development and fostered partnerships with other federal agencies as well as national and international organizations. Mr. Childs also oversees the Department of Commerce’s $1 billion in supplemental Congressional funds for disaster recovery and readiness grants after the natural disasters of 2017.

313,000 New Jobs in February, Job Growth Strongest Since President Trump’s Election

The U.S. economy added 313,000 new jobs in the month of February, according to the February 2018 Employment Situation report published today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More from the Department of Labor:

“Job growth was the strongest since President Trump’s election, with 313,000 jobs created in the month of February. The non-stop job creation since the election has yielded 2.9 million jobs. For the fifth month in a row, the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%, a 17-year low. Goods-producing industries such as manufacturing, mining and logging, and construction collectively had the highest month-to-month growth since 1998. These were among many sectors experiencing significant growth.

“President Trump’s tax reform continues to boost economic confidence with more than 400 companies handing out bonuses, raises, or other benefits to more than 4 million Americans. Today’s report shows that average hourly earnings significantly increased in February and have increased by 2.6% over the last year. We saw positive movement in the labor force participation rate, and we would like to see that continue over the coming months.”

In total, 2.92 million jobs have been added to the U.S. economy since President Trump was elected – including 263,000 manufacturing jobs since President Trump took office. In addition, the number of long-term unemployed Americans is the lowest since 2008.

Tax Cuts Act a Win for American Business and the American Worker

Photo of White House event celebrating passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Earlier this week, Congress passed the first overhaul of the U.S. tax system in more than three decades. The historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses both large and small. The Act also will make American more competitive, will bolster continued job creation and will help increase wages for American workers.

“President Trump’s tax plan will make our tax code more simple and fair, and help American business stay competitive. Accomplishing these objectives will lead to increased economic growth, and, most importantly, better jobs for the American worker.” – Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Highlights of the Tax Cuts Act for include:

Bigger paychecks for American workers. The Tax Cuts Act provides $5.5 trillion in tax cuts by nearly doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit, protecting tax savings for higher education and retirement, and lowering rates across the board. It also repeals ObamaCare’s individual mandate tax, 80 percent of which hit households earning less than $50,000 a year in 2016.

Putting American businesses on a level playing field with foreign competitors. America’s corporate tax rate will go from being the highest in the developed world to below the average for Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. A one-time tax on corporate earnings stashed overseas will end the incentive for companies to keep their profits outside of the United States.

Eliminating dozens of special interest tax breaks and loopholes. The Tax Cuts Act will raise $4 trillion in revenue to help offset tax cuts by closing the door on dozens of corporate accounting tricks. The bill eliminates a loophole used to deduct compensation for executives earning more than $1 million a year.

U.S. Department of Labor graphic: 1.7 Million jobs added to the American economy since January 2017

Dec 8th, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that 228,000 jobs were added to the American economy in November, and 1.7 million jobs have been added since January of this year. This marks a 17-year low for unemployment at 4.1%. In addition, the unemployment rate in manufacturing dropped to 2.6% – the lowest rate recorded since BLS began measuring it in 2000.

Last week, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced in their latest estimate that the U.S. gross domestic product grew at a 3.3 percent pace in their third quarter of 2017 – faster than their initial estimate of 3.0 percent – and personal income increased by 0.4 percent in October 2017, marking the second month in a row that personal income increased by 0.4 percent.

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1 Million to Support Business Startups in Keokuk

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1 million grant to the city of Keokuk, Iowa, to renovate an office building that will house startup companies. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create or retain 75 jobs and spur $3 million in private investment.

“President Trump is working diligently every day to help empower our nation’s entrepreneurs who are the engine of job creation,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The renovated Roquette building will attract and support new companies that will boost the region’s economic growth.”

The project will help to renovate the former Roquette office building to support the expansion of emerging startup companies in southeast Iowa. It serves as an opportunity for area grain processing businesses as well as entrepreneurs to be close to clustered industries and expand in the region. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission. EDA funds Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.