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Sector ETF Winners & Loser in Light of January Job Gains

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The U.S. jobs report for the month of January came in weaker than expected. The January non-farm payroll reading of an addition of 49,000 jobs was below the estimated rise of 50,000. As many as 10 million jobs are still short from the boom in February 2020.

The January reading was an improvement from the downbeat jobs report of December when we saw job cuts. Notably, the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised down by 72,000 to a gain of 264,000, and the change for December was lowered by 87,000 to a loss of 227,000. With these revisions, employment in November and December combined was 159,000 lower than what was previously reported.

In January, the unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percentage point to 6.3%. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased 6 cents to $29.96. Subdued wage growth is a concern.

Still, there are some bright spots in this lackluster job report. Below, we have highlighted some of the ETF areas that won/lost in the light of the January jobs report.

ETFs to Win

Technology – Invesco S&P SmallCap Information Technology ETF (PSCT - Free Report)

Employment in professional and business services jumped by 97,000, though most of the gains (+81,000) went to temporary help services. Job growth was also seen in management and technical consulting services (+16,000), computer systems design and related services (+11,000), and scientific research and development services (+10,000). Since February 2020 or the pre-pandemic period, employment in professional and business services declined by 825,000. Since computer-related services accounted for decent job gains, PSCT may emerge a beneficiary.

Mining – SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME)

In January, employment in mining increased by 9,000, with a gain of 8,000 in support activities for mining. Mining employment is still down by 133,000 from its latest peak noticed in January 2019. The employment in the industry was sort of flat last year (read: U.S. Manufacturing Falls in January: Sector ETFs That Stand Out).

ETFs to Lose

Leisure – Emles Luxury Goods ETF (LUXE - Free Report)

In January, employment in leisure and hospitality declined by 61,000, after a massive decline in December by about 536,000 jobs. This is a crucial pandemic-wrought sector. Employment in leisure and hospitality dropped 8.2 million during March and April, gained 4.9 million from May to November, and then fell by 597,000 over the past two months. Since Feb2020, employment in leisure and hospitality is off by 3.9 million or 22.9%. No wonder, this luxury good ETF gained a moderate 3.3% past month (despite its exposure to hot stocks like Tesla and Apple). However, some improvements may show up in the ongoing February on hopes of faster economic recovery on more vaccine rollouts.

Retail – VanEck Vectors Retail ETF (RTH)

Retail trade lost 38,000 jobs in January, after adding 135,000 jobs in December. In January, job cuts were noticed in general merchandise stores (-38,000), electronics and appliance stores (-29,000), and nonstore retailers (-15,000). However, gains were recorded in food and beverage stores (+15,000), clothing and clothing accessories stores (+15,000), and health and personal care stores (+14,000). Employment in retail trade is 383,000 lower than in February. RTH has added just 3.2% past month compared with 23% gains in Invesco DWA Consumer Cyclicals Momentum ETF (PEZ - Free Report) .

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