According to CNN, the U.S. economy added about 200,000 jobs in January 2018.
36,000 workers joined the Construction Industry. Health Care grew by 21,000 new hires. Restaurants & Bars gained 31,000 more bartenders, waiters, and cooks. Manufacturing added 15,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, wages grew at the fastest pace in eight years, and unemployment rested at 4.1% — the lowest rate since 2000. The highest peak in unemployment was 10% in 2009.
U.S. Unemployment Rates (Interactive Graph on Fortune.com)
Experts predict that January’s 2.9% wage increase is the start of a larger trend, as long as the country keeps adding jobs and unemployment stays low.
January’s numbers indicate that 2018 “will be a year of rising wages and the tightest labor market in over a generation,” said Joseph Brusuelas, chief U.S. economist at RSM, an accounting and consulting firm.
Unemployment claims fell to approximately 230,000 in January — well below the 300,000 threshold that is traditionally seen as an indicator of a strong labor market. At the same time, America has nearly six million job openings right now.
“The untapped reservoir of unemployed or underemployed skilled workers that existed in the aftermath of the recession has largely disappeared,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “Employers are finding it more difficult to find potential workers.”