Unemployment Eases to 9.7% and Under-Employment Drifts to 16.5%

The Prom Queen of economic reports is in:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “The unemployment rate fell from 10.0 to 9.7 percent in January, and nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged (-20,000). Employment fell in construction and in transportation and warehousing, while temporary help services and retail trade added jobs.”

Additionally, the under-employment rate dropped from 17.3% to 16.5%. Although these are encouraging signs, unemployment is a lumpy data set and one month never indicates a trend.