U.S. Job Growth Fastest Since Dot-Com Boom Of The 1990s

by: Ed Dolan

Strong upward revisions reported Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics pushed US payroll job gains to levels not seen since the dot.com boom of the 1990s. According to preliminary data, the economy added 257,000 total payroll jobs in January 2015. The report revised gains for November upward from 353,000 to 423,000 and those from December from 252,000 to 329,000.

The government sector lost 10,000 jobs in January. The government sector had added jobs in November and December, but over the year since January 2014, government jobs were down by 17,000. All levels of government shed jobs in January, but the federal government showed the largest losses. All told, the government sector has lost 688,000 jobs, including a net loss of 55,000 at the federal level, since the inauguration of President Barack Obama six years ago, contrary to his opponents' idea that his administration would give rise to an "explosive growth of government jobs."

Meanwhile, private sector jobs have boomed. As the next chart shows, the economy added 3,127,000 private payroll jobs between January 2014 and January 2015. That easily eclipsed the peak rate of job creation during the housing bubble of the early 2000's, and was the strongest 12-month showing since 1997, at the height of the dot.com boom.

Elsewhere in the report, there were few surprises. Wages were up and the labor force added more than a million workers, reversing December losses with room to spare. Both the narrow and broad unemployment rates rose by a tenth of a percentage point, leaving them still near their lows for the recovery. The percentage of unemployed workers who were without a job for more than 27 weeks decreased, as did the average duration of unemployment. However, the number of long-term unemployed remains high by historical standards.

Follow this link to view or download a slideshow with additional charts of the latest US employment situation