Economy shows strength, with employers adding 257,000 jobs in January

The January labor report showed robust gains of 257,000 jobs last month, a faster pace than expected that adds to data suggesting the U.S. economy is growing strongly.
While the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5.7 percent, the overall report suggests big improvements in the labor market.
The report revised figures in November and December to show gains of 147,000 jobs. November’s figures were up to 423,000 from 353,000, while December was revised up to 329,000 from 252,000. The gains mean the economy added more than 3 million jobs last year.
Hourly wages also ticked up by 0.5 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. 
A rising economy has lifted President Obama, who has seen his approval ratings hit 50 percent. That's led to new confidence at the White House, which has taken a forceful line with Republicans in control of both chambers in Congress. 
Static wages in the report for December had sparked some fears that the pace of the economy was slowing, but the January report found wages rose by the most since November 2008, shortly after the start of the financial crisis.
In the past year, hourly pay has increased 2.2 percent.
Job gains averaged 336,000 over the last three months, up from 197,000 a year ago, and the strongest showing since the end of 1997.
Overall, the January report represents 11 months of job gains above 200,000, the best streak in two decades.  
Construction added 39,000 jobs in January, up from the monthly average of 28,000 over the past year. 
Manufacturing employment increased by 22,000 last month. The sector has added 228,000 jobs over the past 12 months. 
The jobless rate rose but so did labor force participation with 703,000 people jumping in to look for work, upping the participation rate by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent. 
Those figures suggest more people believe they can find jobs in a rebounding market. 
A dissonant note could be found in the number of long-term unemployed — those out of work for six or more months. That figure was essentially unchanged at 2.8 million. Those workers made up 31.5 percent of the unemployed. 
However, over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed is down by 828,000. 
Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerCan the GOP break its addiction to show biz? House conservatives plot to oust Liz Cheney Ex-Speaker Boehner after Capitol violence: 'The GOP must awaken' MORE (R-Ohio) said while “it’s always good news that more Americans are finding work” there are  “millions are still struggling and searching for a good job.” 
He suggested that if the president is “serious about helping the middle class, he’ll reconsider his threat to veto these bills and work with us to get these things done.” 
He noted that wage growth was up last month but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Furman suggested that the labor participation rate is stabilizing and has been holding mostly in place since fall 2013. 
While many people are returning to the workplace the growing number of retirements will probably keep offsetting those gains, he said.