Employers in 39 U.S. states added more workers to their payrolls in January while the unemployment rate plunged further in 24 as the job market strengthens.
California registered the highest number of new payrolls nationwide, with 67,300 jobs filled, followed by Ohio with 25,100, reported the Labor Department on Tuesday. Idaho reported the strongest percentage surge in payrolls with a 1.4 percent gain, with Hawaii coming second with a 0.9 percent increase. Payrolls declined in states such as Louisiana, Virginia and Minnesota.
Oregon had the biggest decline in unemployment rate in January, with joblessness declining to 6.3 percent from December’s reading of 6.7 percent. North Dakota reported the lowest unemployment rate nationwide at 2.8 percent, while Nevada and Mississippi had the highest at 7.1 percent in January.
“The pace is running pretty hot right now,” Sarah House, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, told Bloomberg News before the report was released. “We’re at a particularly good point in the cycle — there’s may be some catch-up going on from previous years.”
Meanwhile, low oil prices barely affected the unemployment rate in January, with payrolls increasing 20,100 in Texas and by 1,300 in North Dakota.
The report also indicated that U.S. payrolls rose by 295,000 in February, up from a 239,000 gain the previous month. The jobless rate declined to 5.5 percent, which is the lowest in nearly seven years and is at a scale that is viewed as full employment by the Federal Reserve officials.
Fed policy makers are keenly monitoring labor market statistics in order to determine when to raise interest rates for the first time since 2006. The officials are currently in the midst of a two-day monetary policy meeting in Washington that concludes on Wednesday. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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