The U.S. job market enjoyed a better-than-expected January, with employers adding 225,000 jobs. The unemployment rate inched up to 3.6%, near a 50-year low, according to a new report from the Labor Department.
Private forecasters had predicted job gains of about 160,000.
Job growth for November and December was revised up by a total of 7,000 jobs.
Unusually warm weather contributed to a surge in construction last month, with 44,000 jobs added. Housing construction has also gotten a boost from low mortgage rates.
Manufacturing activity rebounded in January after a five-month slump. But factories still shed 12,000 jobs.
The much larger services side of the economy — which includes everything from banking to bartending — also continues to expand. Health care, education and hospitality all showed large gains in employment.
Over the last 12 months average wages have risen 3.1%, a modest uptick from December’s reading.
The share of adults who are working or looking for work increased to 63.4%.
While the overall job market remains healthy, the Labor Department says past job gains were not as strong as initially reported. Once each year, the department updates its historical employment record using more complete information. Friday’s revision shows employers added 514,000 fewer jobs between April 2018 and March 2019 than earlier surveys had indicated.