The U.S. economy added 225,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6.
Economists had expected the economy to add 160,000 jobs. December’s figure was revised up from 145,000 to 147,000.
The unemployment rate edged up because the labor force participation rate increased, meaning the strong labor market drew more people into the workforce. The participation rate rose to 63.4 percent in January, the best rate since the last recession.
The employment to population ratio for prime age workers rose to 80.6 percent, the highest since 2001.
The Department of Labor said that notable job gains occurred in construction, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing. Construction employment was up by 44,000, which likely reflected the unusually warm weather in much of the country during the month.
Manufacturing remained in slump territory, losing 12,000 positions for the month and remaining essentially unchanged year over year.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $28.44. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1 percent.