The January 2020 jobs report showed U.S. companies added many more positions than expected during the month as mild winter weather spurred a surge in construction employment and health care continued to add staff at a robust clip.
The government reported Friday that payrolls increased by 225,000, easily besting the 158,000 estimate economists polled by Dow Jones had forecast. The unemployment rate ticked back up to 3.6% as more people decided to reenter the labor force, considered a positive development by economists.
CNBC studied the net changes by industry for January jobs based on data from the Labor Department contained in the employment report.
The education and health-care industry — a consistent employment juggernaut — was by far the strongest during the month, adding more than 70,000 jobs.
The whopping gain for health care alone added further proof that inpatient and outpatient care will continue to have an outsized effect on employment in the United States for the foreseeable future thanks to changing demographics and advances in medical technology. The health-care subsector added more than 35,000 net jobs over the month.
Mild January weather sparked an unusually large swell in construction, which posted a net gain of 44,000 jobs, well ahead of the 12,000 jobs the sector added on average each month in 2019.
“Notable job gains occurred in construction, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing,” the Labor Department said in its Friday press release. Most of the construction “gain occurred in specialty trade contractors, with increases in both the residential (+18,000) and nonresidential (+17,000) components.
Leisure and hospitality clinched the No. 3 spot for January with a net gain of 36,000 positions. The food services industry continued to buoy the headline hospitality figure as restaurants and bars added to several months of strong hiring.
Transportation and warehousing payrolls came in at No. 4 with a net gain of 28,300 jobs.
Laggards for the month included manufacturing and retail, which posted net declines of 12,000 and 8,300, respectively.
“Weather likely helped the data as construction jobs grew by 44k, well more than the previous 6 month average of 11k,” wrote Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group.
The anemic manufacturing print wasn’t necessarily surprising to investors who’ve been keeping tabs on the industry in recent months.
U.S. trade disputes, tit-for-tat tariffs and an expensive dollar have all been headwinds for manufacturers with global buyers. The autumn GM strike and Boeing’s ongoing 737 Max crisis that has kept one of its most popular planes grounded have also taken a toll on the sector.
The sector added just 46,000 jobs in 2019 —a 0.4% gain in payrolls.
“Retail went back to shedding jobs while temp jobs were cut and something to watch if it continues,” Boockvar added. “Manufacturing was weak not surprisingly, falling by 12k after a drop of 5k in December.”