The United States economy kicked of 2016 with the payroll slowdown economists were calling for, following a strong close to 2015. The U.S. added 151,000 non-farm payroll jobs in January, according to the latest monthly employment report released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). January’s seasonally adjusted payroll additions represent a significant drop-off from a three-month run of robust growth in the fourth quarter of last year and comes in slightly below analyst expectations. At 4.9 percent, the national unemployment rate remains largely unchanged from December.
The previously reported payroll gain of 252,000 for November 2015 was revised up to 280,000. December's addition of 292,000 jobs was revised down to 262,000. These revisions lower the combined employment gains for the two-month period by 2,000.
Economists point to volatility in global markets as a reason for the slowdown, making U.S. business cautious about hiring. As reported by payroll-processing company ADP and its partner Moody's Analytics in their employment report released earlier this week—which analysts often use to inform their predictions for the BLS report—the biggest dip in hiring came from companies with 500 or more employees whose scale makes them more vulnerable to market fluctuations; businesses with fewer than 500 employees accounted for more than three-fourths of jobs created in January, ADP said.
The blizzard that largely shut down the East Coast mid-January isn't likely to have impacted the month's numbers, The Wall Street Journal reports, as the data was collected before the storm hit.
Payroll gains in the key market sectors for architects—construction and architectural and engineering services—mirrored the broader economic trend for January, slowing following strong growth in the fourth quarter of 2015. Construction added 18,000 jobs, down from December’s slightly upward-revised gain of 48,000 jobs but about 4 percent higher than a year ago. Hiring in architectural and engineering services also dipped from December, logging a gain of 2,800 jobs compared to the prior month’s downward-revised addition of 3,200. Still, that’s up slightly—2 percent—from a year ago. Manufacturing added 29,000 jobs in January, with little change over 2015.
Read more about how architectural and engineering services sub-sectors fared in January.
Charts data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics