CARL AZUZ: Which of these U.S. government organizations is oldest? Office of Management and Budget, Bureau of Energy Resources, Bureau of Labor Statistics, or Department of Commerce? Established in 1884, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is the oldest organization on this list.
On the first Friday of every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a jobs report. It's seen as one measure of how the U.S. economy as a whole is doing. One thing the report looks at is how many new jobs were added or lost the month before. So in January, the U.S. economy grew by 304,000 jobs. That's considered to be a sign of strong jobs growth and it came at a time when some economists predicted that only 170,000 would be added.
January was the 100th month in a row that jobs grew in America. Wages also went up last month, increasing by one-tenth of 1 percent. That's less than the three-tenths of a percent that was expected, but it's still a sign of continued wage growth over the past 12 months.
The Labor Department says the partial government shutdown that recently ended but was the longest ever in U.S. history did not have a noticeable impact on hiring and wages. But it did cause a slight increase in the unemployment rate — the percentage of the American workforce that doesn't have a job. In December that rate was 3.9 percent. In January it was 4 percent. Jobs, wages, and unemployment are three highlights of the report but there's a lot more to it than that.