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A Help Wanted sign seeking workers is on a restaurant window in Port Washington, New York, on January 5. (Howard Schnapp/Newsday RM/Getty Images)

A week that has been chock-full of economic data will be capped off Friday with the first US jobs report of 2023.

Economists estimate that 185,000 positions were likely added in January, according to Refinitiv.

That would be a considerable drop from the 504,000 jobs added in January 2022 and the 520,000 added in January 2021. It also would nearly match the 183,000 monthly average between 2010 and 2019, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.

And yet, while the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes have helped make a dent in inflation and resulted in slower economic activity without stark rises in unemployment, the full effects have yet to come, Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned Wednesday.

America’s unemployment rate dipped back down in December to 3.5%, once again matching a 50-year low. It’s expected to tick up to 3.6% come Friday.

Layoff announcements — led by large tech firms — are picking up steam: The 43,651 job cuts announced in December jumped to 102,943 in January, according to a new data released Thursday morning by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Still, those spikes in cutbacks haven’t become widespread. New data released Thursday by the Labor Department showed weekly initial jobless claims fell for the fourth time in five weeks, landing at 183,000, which is the lowest weekly total since April.

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