More Americans re-entered the workforce in January, as the economy continued to add jobs. Wages had their largest gain since June of 2007. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Getting back to work got a little easier for many Americans last month, and they are making more money on the job. Employment rose more than expected in January. The U.S. economy added 257,000 new jobs. Jason Furman, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors: (SOUNDBITE) JASON FURMAN, CHAIRMAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISORS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The jobs report today is a very good start to 2015, that builds on the strengthening of the economy we saw in 2014. 257,000 jobs is roughly the same pace that we saw in 2014, and 2014 was the best year since 1999." January marked the 11th straight month of job gains above 200,000, the longest streak since 1994. Wages increased 12 cents last month, the largest gain since June 2007. That took the year-on-year gain to 2.2 percent, the fastest since August. FAO Economic's Bob Brusca: (SOUNDBITE) BOB BRUSCA, CHIEF ECONOMIST, FACT AND OPINION ECONOMICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We have to kind of recalibrate, we've got to look back at the year and realize the growth that we had came with better job growth than we thought at the time, so you have to kind of reset your mind for a new normalcy. The new normalcy is that job growth has been stronger " Based on the latest report, investors are now betting that the Fed will hike rates sooner than expected. Futures contracts tied to the Fed's main policy rate now show that traders see a 62 percent chance that the first Fed rate hike will come in September 2015, based on CME FedWatch. They put a 47 percent probability on the chance of a July rate hike. Before the report they were betting on October. The unemployment rate edged higher, to 5.7 percent, but for a good reason. Decision Economic's Cary Leahey explains: (SOUNDBITE) CARY LEAHEY, SENIOR ADVISER AND CHIEF U.S. ECONOMIST, DECISION ECONOMICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The irony of that is that it's actually not a bad number because this is an oddball situation where this is actually a sign of strength because a lot of people looking for jobs in January didn't find them, so the unemployment rate went up. " As for the amount of time Americans are spending on the job? The average workweek holding steady at 34.6 hours.