January 2024 Sees Surge: 353,000 New Jobs Created

New job growth for January 2024 came in at a very robust 353,000. The economy continues to produce jobs at a level that is in the upper range desired by the Federal Reserve in its ongoing fight against inflation.

New job growth for January 2024 came in at 353,000, compared to the prior month’s 216,000. This represents a relatively high level when viewed over a longer time period.

Taking the monthly new job figures from January 1997 to March 2017 and ranking them into four quartiles, the total of 353,000 for January 2024 ranks in the highest quartile. Over the past three years, 97% of the monthly totals have been in the top two quartiles.

Private Education & Health account for 15% of all jobs in the US, and in January, they accounted for 32% (as indicated by the red bar). It is not reasonable to expect this category to generate twice the amount of new jobs compared to its base total.

The top 4 categories account for 64% of the total number of jobs in the US. Private Education and Health Services had the largest number of new jobs in December, with 112,000. Government jobs came in relatively low, at 36,000.

The top 4 sectors account for 64% of all jobs. Below are more detailed listings of these 4 categories. Note that Health Care had the largest number of new jobs in both December and January. Additionally, according to the Consumer Price Index, health care is experiencing the fastest inflationary rate of growth.

During a regular year, job growth of 2% to 3% occurs. Rates above 4% are seldom sustainable. The category Private Education and Health is the third largest category, while Information is relatively small.

The increase in US postal jobs in January is significant, with an annualized growth rate of 9%. What is notable is the sharp decline in contract employees. It is unclear whether contract employees were converted to full-time employees or not.

PRIOR PERIOD REVISION: The Bureau of Labor routinely revises prior period data as additional information becomes available over a 2-month period.

November was initially estimated at 199,000 and was revised DOWN in December by 26,000. The final revision DOWN 2,000 occurred in January, making November’s total final at 171,000.

December’s initial estimate of 216,000 was materially revised UP by 117,000 in January 2024 and will be finalized when February’s data is released on March 12, 2024.

The weekly new unemployment filings continue to hover in the low 200,000 range, nearing a record low.

Weekly New Unemployment Filings Since 1977.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged in January 2024 at 3.7%, which is slightly above the all-time low unemployment rate attained earlier in 2023.

Bill Knudson, Research Analyst LANDCO ARESC