U.S. payrolls increased more than expected in January, signaling a build in economic momentum as 2015 got underway. Employers nationwide added 257,000 new jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. Economists projected a payroll increase of 230,000. Adding to January's good news, payroll numbers for November and December were revised upward to 423,000 and 329,000, respectively, making November the best month for employment growth since May 2010.
The unemployment rate, which is measured from a separate household survey, ticked up slightly to 5.7 percent from December's 5.6 percent, reflecting an increase in the number of Americans looking for work. After accounting for annual adjustments to population controls, BLS said the civilian labor force rose by 703,000 in January, bringing the labor force participation rate back up to a still-low 62.9 percent. Hourly earnings jumped 12 cents in January to an average of $24.75, a sharp turnaround from December.
Ongoing regulatory scrutiny along with allegations of servicing violations have resulted in the removal of Ocwen Financial from Morningstar Credit Ratings' Alert and the lowering of the Atlanta-based servicer's operational risk assessment rankings, according to an announcement from Morningstar on Friday. Morningstar's announcement came just one day after Ocwen CEO Ron Faris told his company's stakeholders that he expected Ocwen's earnings in Q4 to take a hit based on mounting regulatory pressures, expenses, and a recent ratings downgrade by Fitch Ratings.