January’s US employment report is crazy strong. Payrolls surged 353k versus 185k consensus, where the even highest forecast of 300k was well shy of the outcome, especially when we add in the 126k of upward revisions to the past two months of data. As the chart below shows, the momentum in job creation is on the rise again, but this time, it isn’t merely the leisure & hospitality, government and education & healthcare services, which accounted for 80% of the jobs added in 2023.
For sure, education and health were the biggest drivers, adding 112k, but the government added a relatively modest (by its standard) 36k jobs while leisure and hospitality saw payrolls increase just 11k. This month, we got a decent 74k increase in professional/business services plus 64k in trade & transport with 45k added in retail.