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In Astonishing Labor Market Growth, the U.S. Added 517,000 Jobs in January

Last month marked the 25th straight month of solid job growth

The labor market shattered expectations in January, as the economy added 517,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent, a low not seen since May 1969, according to data released Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job gains had been steadily dropping for months, but January’s stunning job growth reflects unexpected tightness in the labor market, even amid fears of a looming recession as high-profile layoffs spread across the tech industry.

"These numbers are a real surprise," said James Knightley, chief international economist for ING. "We had been looking at evidence of some softening in the labor market, but this blows that out of the water. The economy has created nearly 200,000 more jobs than anyone was forecasting."

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