US jobs growth beats expectations in Jan 2020

The US saw another month of strong jobs growth in January, extending a streak of gains that has surprised many economists.

The US Labor Department said employers added 225,000 positions last month, while wages rose 3.1% year-on-year.

Hiring at construction firms helped to drive the gains, as milder weather allowed for more building.

The unemployment rate edged up to 3.6%, but that was largely due to more Americans looking for work.

“The hard data have outperformed substantially in recent months and show no signs yet of fading,” said Ian Shepherson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The US is growing at an annual rate of about 2.1% – similar to previous years – but steady gains in the labour market keep the economy on track, despite trade tensions and weakness abroad,

Consumer confidence is on the rise and near record numbers of Americans are reporting satisfaction with their personal finances.

US President Donald Trump, who is up for re-election this year, made the strength of the economy a central part of his recent State of the Union address. Many analysts say it is likely to help him in his campaign.

Economists attribute the gains to the US central bank’s decision to cut interest rates last year.

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