The unemployment rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.9 percent as employers added 151,000 jobs in January, to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, including 5,800 jobs in accounting and bookkeeping services.
“Overall the unemployment rate has fallen to less than 5 percent and for accountants in the skilled accountant labor market, it's much lower than that,” said Kim Gottschalk, senior regional vice president for the staffing company Accounting Principals. “For the skilled accountant workforce, those people can find jobs immediately if they're looking, or they can switch jobs for a bump in salary right now. Wages are very strong in accounting and finance. People are taking multiple offers and they are getting significant bumps up in pay in many cases. This is for both the temporary labor market, which continues to be very strong, and the direct hire force. They are expected to be very strong throughout all of 2016 and into 2017 and perhaps beyond. That's what's projected. There is no shortage of jobs for accounting and finance professionals.”
Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate declined by 1.1 million and 0.8 percentage point, respectively, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employment rose in several industries, led by retail trade, food services and drinking places,
health care, and manufacturing. However, private educational services and transportation and warehousing lost jobs. Mining employment continued to decline.
Employment in financial activities rose in January by 18,000 jobs. Job gains occurred in credit intermediation and related activities, which added 7,000 jobs.
Employment in professional and business services changed little in January, adding only 9,000 jobs, after increasing by 60,000 in December. Within the industry, professional and technical services added 25,000 jobs over the month, in line with average monthly gains over the prior 12 months. However, employment in temporary help services edged down in January by 25,000 jobs, after edging up by the same amount in December.
In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 12 cents to $25.39. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. In January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 6 cents to $21.33.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised upward from a gain of 252,000 jobs to a gain of 280,000 jobs, but the change for December was revised downward from a gain of 292,000 jobs to a gain of 262,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined were 2,000 lower than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 231,000 per month.