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US jobs growth smashes expectations

US jobs growth smashes expectations

The US economy has got off to a strong start in 2015 with job numbers for January coming in far better than anticipated.

Official numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the economy added 257,000 non-farm jobs in the month, smashing expectations of a 230,000 rise.

In addition, numbers for the preceding two months were revised up by a total of 147,000, while the unemployment rate rose 5.7 per cent.

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The rise in the unemployment figure in spite of high jobs growth suggests the long-term unemployed, who drop out of unemployment figures, are returning to the market to try to find jobs.

The gains were widespread with growth across retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities and manufacturing.

The figures also found wage growth rose by 0.5 per cent, the fastest growth since 2011.

Following the announcement, the dollar swiftly spiked 1 per cent against the euro. Altogether the US has created more than 1,000,000 additional jobs in the past three months alone, representing the best pace of growth since 1997.

David Lamb, senior dealer at the foreign exchange specialists FEXCO, said: “With wages rising and the rate of job creation kicking into overdrive, even the most bearish will struggle to find fault with this latest snapshot of the US economy.”

Paul Ashworth, chief US economist at Capital Economics, added: “While it is important not to overreact to every data point, there are exceptions and this is one of them.

“Employment growth is clearly on fire and it is beginning to put upward pressure on wage growth. The Fed can’t wait much longer in that environment, particularly not when interest rates are starting at near-zero.”