Excellent January Job Reports: 3 Sector ETFs and Stocks to Bet On

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that the U.S. economy added 353,000 jobs for the month, above the Dow Jones projection of 185,000 (stated on CNBC). The unemployment rate was 3.7%, below the 3.8% expectation.

Average hourly wages rose 0.6%, exceeding the monthly expectation. Wages rose 4.5% year-over-year, above the 4.1% expectation. Wage improvements occurred as average hours worked fell to 34.1, 0.2 hour fewer for the month. Private-sector production and nonsupervisory hourly wages rose 0.4% in January.  The January employment report suggests several industries will trade smoothly in the coming days.

Healthcare In January, ambulatory health care services (+33,000), hospitals (+20,000), and nursing and residential care institutions (+7,000) added 70,000 jobs. Health care employment rose 58,000 per month in 2023.

Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF XLV might capitalize on mild momentum.HCA Healthcare and its Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) merit note. The largest non-governmental acute care hospital operator in the U.S. Hospitals and allied health care institutions are operated by the Nashville-based company.

Retail Retail jobs increased by 45,000. Since early 2023, the space has grown slightly. General merchandise stores gained 24,000 jobs while electronics and appliance retailers lost 3,000.

The data makes Zacks Rank #2 SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT a good buy. AEO sells casual clothing, accessories, and footwear for 15–25-year-old men and women.

Manufacturing January manufacturing employment rose 23,000, with chemical manufacturing (+7,000) and printing and associated support (+5,000) adding jobs. Manufacturing jobs barely grew in 2023.

Watch Zacks Rank #2 Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF XLI prices. Zacks Rank #2 North American Construction Group NOA is a good stock pick. Heavy construction and mining are its main services in Canada. It serves huge oil, gas, and resource businesses.