January Employment Situation Deep Dive

Non-farm payroll employment increased in January by 243,000, bringing the national unemployment rate down to 8.3 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. Large job increases were seen in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Consensus forecasts had been for a rate at 8.5 percent.

The number of unemployed persons fell in January to 12.8 million, and the rate itself has fallen by 0.8 percent since August. The unemployment rate for adult men decreased in January to 7.7 percent and blacks to 13.6 percent, while rates for adult women (7.7 percent), teenagers (23.2 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and Hispanics (10.5 percent) saw no change. The number of those losing jobs and completing temporary jobs decreased to 7.3 million. The number of long term unemployed (out of work for more than 27 weeks) changed little at 5.5 million, and accounted for 42.9 percent of the overall unemployed.

The civilian participation rate in January stayed at 63.7 percent; these are people either working some number of hours per week, or those actively seeking work. The gain in employment came as the percentage of those employed rose to 58.5. The number of those employed part time changed little at 8.2 million. The number of persons marginally attached to the labor force, at 2.8 million, was virtually the same as a year earlier – these individuals had looked for work during the past year, but not in the past four weeks. Out of this 2.8 million, 1.1 percent were considered to be ‘discouraged workers’, who are not currently looking for work.

Private sector employment increased by 257,000 in January, while total non-farm payroll employment grew by 243,000. Jobs added by professional and business services totaled 70,000, out of which 33,000 were in employment services. Forty-four thousand new jobs occurred in the leisure and hospitality industry, with (33,000) in food services and drinking places. Health care employment provided 31,000 new jobs, continuing its upwards trend. Manufacturing provided 50,000 new jobs, most all in durables.

Over the past year, the government sector has lost 276,000 jobs, and changed little in January. Declines were seen in all categories.

The new figures would seem to confirm most indicators seen through the month of January, including new jobless claims and durable goods orders as the most obvious ones. The month’s lower rate of 8.3 percent came from higher employment as opposed to shrinkage of the labor force, and was 0.2 percent below consensus forecasts. This survey reflected updated population estimates in conjunction with the 2010 Census.

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