WASHINGTON (2/9/15)--The U.S. economy in 2014 added the most jobs in one calendar year since 1999, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Over the course of the year, the economy added an average of 260,000 jobs per month.
If January's impressive 257,000 jobs adds are any indication, it also appears the job market will continue to gain ground into 2015.
"The labor market was about the last thing to recover from the Great Recession, and in the last six months it has picked up steam," Bill Hampel, CUNA chief policy officer, told the Associated Press. "The benefits for the middle class are now solidifying."
Hampel's remarks also were picked up by ABC News, The Boston Globe, The New York Daily News and a number of other media outlets.
With significant upward revisions to November and December's job-add numbers--to 329,000 and a whopping 423,000 jobs respectively--the economy has added an average of 336,000 jobs over the last three months, including January's solid performance (Economy.com Feb. 6).
By sector in January, goods producers added 58,000 jobs with solid gains reported in construction and manufacturing. Service industries contributed 209,000 jobs, and retail trade and education/health care both added 46,000 jobs, the strongest relative improvement for the month.
While the unemployment rate actually lifted in January to 5.7% from 5.6%, the recent hot streak for the labor market likely encouraged a higher labor force participation rate, which could account for the slight uptick.
More than 700,000 workers entered the labor force in January and household employment climbed by 435,000, according the Bureau (Economy.com).
Wages also showed solid improvement in January with a 0.5% increase, more than reversing December's 2% step back. The gain in wages also marks the biggest increase in more than six years (The New York Times Feb. 6).
Over the last year, wages have climbed 2.2%.