The job creation saw muted wage growth, with average hourly earnings rising just 3 cents on the month, or 0.1 percent, well below the 0.3 percent expected gain. On a year-over-year basis, though, that still amounted to a 3.2 percent increase, consistent with the past few months and around the highest levels of the recovery.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics official estimated that the shutdown had “no discernable impacts” on the ability to make estimates, though there was some effect on the numbers otherwise.
The most notable came in the count of those working part-time for economic reasons, often referred to as the underemployed. That total jumped nearly 11 percent to 5.1 million.
The household survey’s level of unemployed increased by 241,000, or nearly 4 percent, to 6.5 million, helping to push the unemployment rate higher. The survey’s level of those counted as employed tumbled by 251,000 to 156.7 million. The department uses its establishment survey, which contacts businesses, to formulate the headline monthly job gains.
Multiple sectors helped contribute to the spike in job creation. Services rose by 224,000 and goods-producing industries increased by 72,000.
Leisure and hospitality added 74,000 positions, with the biggest gain coming in bars and restaurants, which rose by 37,000. Construction saw a gain of 52,000, bringing its 12-month total to 338,000.
Elsewhere, health care contributed 42,000, bringing its yearly gain to 368,000. Transportation and warehousing added 27,000 and retail grew by 21,000 following a year where the sector showed a total gain of just 26,000.
Professional and business services were up 30,000 and manufacturing increased by 13,000, bringing that sector’s 12-month total to 261,000.
The average work week remained at 34.5 hours. The labor force participation rate held steady at 63.1 percent while those counted as not in the labor force fell by 639,000 to just over 95 million.
The department also released its full-year revisions, which it does each January. In total, the changes added 36,000 to the count for all of 2018. Revisions to the labor force count saw the civilian noninstitutional population fall by 800,000 and the civilian labor force decrease by 506,000.