Job Market Update: January 2018

What's the latest with the unemployment rate? We've got the details and the takeaways.


Unemployment Rate

  • Unemployment Rate


  • Change from Last Month


5 Things to know about January’s job report

The unemployment rate was once again 4.1% in the first month of 2018, with an estimated 200,000 jobs added in January.

Due to the government shutdown from January 20 through January 22, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was operating at reduced staffing levels, and household data collection was suspended during that time. The BLS also reported the response rate for the survey was slightly below average compared to January of 2017, however, they do not feel there were any discernible effects on today’s report due to the shutdown. 

Wages, the continued hot topic surrounding the US workforce, rose by 9-cents in January, following an 11-cent gain in December. According to Business Insider, this is the fastest pace of growth since the recession. Additionally, January showed the first signs of how President Trump’s tax plan affected the workforce. At least 39 of 500 of the nation's largest companies have said they are providing additional financial rewards to workers due to benefits from the new tax law in the form of one-time bonuses and higher pay rates, according to USA TODAY.

Here are 5 Other Things you need to know about January's job report:

1. 88th Month Streak

January marks the 88th straight month of job growth, the longest such streak on record, according to The New York Times.

2. Talent Still Available

The labor force participation rate was 62.7% in January, the fourth consecutive month the rate has sat around 60%. While healthy, that means around 40% of Americans are still potentially looking for work. We explained why this could be a problem for wage growth in this blog post.

3. Loosening of Requirements

We also wrote about how companies are adapting their recruiting requirements to be more inclusive of “untraditional workers,” such as those with criminal records or no prior experience in a particular field. Our Senior Vice President, Amy Glaser, spoke to The New York Times about this trend, citing the majority of warehouses no longer requiring high school diplomas or experience with scanners.

4. Major Worker Groups

The BLS also measures major worker groups each month. In January, the unemployment rate for African Americans increased to 7.7%, while Whites edged down to 3.5%. The jobless rate for adult men actually sat slightly higher than women at 3.9% compared to 3.6%.

5. Blue-Collar Gains

Since January of 2017, some of the most notable job gains have occurred in the blue-collar sector, with industries like construction, warehousing and manufacturing – which lost jobs in 2016 – experiencing some of the most significant job growth. These industries are generally low paying, but with demand for talent high in these categories, they’re likely to credit for December and January’s wage growth.

Jobs Added


  • Construction


  • Manufacturing


  • Durable goods


  • Transportation & Warehousing


  • Professional & Business Services


  • Leisure and Hospitality


  • Food Services & Drinking Places


  • Education & Health Services


  • Financial Activities


Job Growth by Industry

January 2018

In Your Region

Dec. 2017

The Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down the unemployment rate geographically, one month behind its national breakdown, so this month we’re reviewing December’s regional performance.

The Midwest had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.5%, while the South had the highest at 4.3%.



  • Unemployment Rate


  • Change from Last Month


Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Hawaii (2.0%) / Alaska (7.3%)



  • Unemployment Rate


  • Change from Last Month


Lowest and highest unemployment rates

North Dakota (2.6%) / Illinois (4.8%)



  • Unemployment Rate


  • Change from Last Month


Lowest and highest unemployment rates

New Hampshire (2.6%) / New Jersey (5%)



  • Unemployment Rate


  • Change from Last Month


Lowest and highest unemployment rates

Tennessee (3.2%) / District of Columbia (6%)

Why This is So Important

The monthly jobs report is one of the most important and timely indicators of the health of the US economy. We can spot industrial and long-term workforce trends that could drastically affect your business, if you’re an employer, or indicate which jobs you should be applying for, if you’re a candidate searching for a job.

The past 12 months have showed us it’s a very health industry for blue-collar jobs, such as construction, manufacturing and food-services/drinking places, but white-collar industries like healthcare, business services and finance are also seeing growth year-over-year.

If you’re searching for work, consider checking out our Job Directory, where you can find hundreds of available positions in your city, and work with our recruiters to find the best match for you.

If you’re an employer finding it difficult to attract the talent you need, it may be time to reconsider your job requirements. According to The New York Times, this could range from hiring workers who test positive for marijuana use – as car retailer, AutoNation, is doing – to offering more work-from-home opportunities and flexible schedules. 

Related Articles

The US Ranks 3rd in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index

The GTCI shows how the U.S. stacks up to its international competition.

read more
Watch the skills gap

See how U.S. executives see the skills gap impacting the American workforce.

read more