Employers added 353,000 jobs in January, blowing past forecasts

The first jobs report of the year portrays a robust labor market, with hiring far exceeding economists’ expectations and the unemployment rate remaining near a 50-year low of 3.7%.

The U.S. economy added 353,00 jobs in January, the government reported on Friday. That’s double the forecast that businesses had hired 176,000 jobs last month, according to economists polled by FactSet.

A robust job market has helped buoy the U.S. economy, with the jobless rate close to a half-century low and wages recently edging ahead of inflation. Still, layoffs nationwide more than doubled in January from a month earlier, according to analysis from executive coaching firm Challenger & Christmas.

— This is a developing story and will be updated.

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