U.S. unemployment rate rises in January, NFPs beat

The U.S labor market showed that the economy created more jobs than expected in January although the jobless rate unexpectedly increased, according to official data released on Friday.

Non-farm payrolls (NFP) rose 227,000 in the first month of 2017, compared to the rise of 157,000 in December that was revised from the initial reading of 156,000. The data beat the consensus estimate for the creation of 175,000 jobs.

The jobless rate unexpectedly rose to 4.8% from the prior 4.7%. Analysts had forecast no change.

Average hourly earnings rose month-on-month by 0.1%, compared to the prior increase of 0.2%, which was revised from 0.4% advance. Analysts had expected a gain of 0.3%.

The increase in wages is being closely monitored by the Federal Reserve for evidence of diminishing slack in the labor market and upward pressure on inflation.

The participation rate edged forward to 62.9% in January, from the prior reading of 62.7%.

Additionally, the private sector created more of the new job contracts than expected in January with a total of 237,000, compared to consensus expectations for 169,000.

December’s number was revised up to 165,000 private nonfarm payrolls, from the prior reading of 144,000.

Government payrolls decreased by 10,000 last month, compared to the destruction of 8,000 public jobs that occurred in December, revised from an initial gain of 12,000 positions.

Furthermore, the average weekly hours remained unchanged at 34.4 in January after the prior month’s number was revised up from 34.3.
Analysts had expected them to remain steady at the initial reading of 34.3.

Immediately after the release, the U.S. Dollar Index traded at 99.80, compared to 100.08 earlier. EUR/USD traded at 1.0764, from 1.0736 before the release, USD/JPY traded at 112.69, from 113.14 earlier, and GBP/USD was at 1.2506, compared to the previous 1.2475.

U.S. futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street. The blue-chip Dow futures gained 0.43%, S&P 500 futures rose 0.30% while the Nasdaq 100 futures inched up 0.02%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,216.85 a troy ounce, compared to $1,213.00 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $53.76 a barrel from $53.70 earlier.