Thursday, 23 March, 2023

Jobs growth surges in US despite slowdown fears

Jobs growth surged in the US in January, defying fears that the economy is heading for a downturn.

Employers added 517,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said.

That was far more than expected, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.4% - the lowest rate since 1969.

Analysts are struggling to figure out what is happening in the world's largest economy, which is being buffeted by a mix of higher borrowing costs and rising prices.

Many forecasters have warned that the odds of a recession this year are unusually high, pointing to data which has indicated a recent pullback in consumer spending, declines in manufacturing and a sharp slowdown in home sales.

A recent survey by research company Morning Consult suggested nearly half of the public thinks the economy has already fallen into recession, or a period of decline.

Despite this, the labour market has remained strong - though the gains in January shocked even those economists who have argued against the gloomy predictions.