Unemployment rate dips, lowest since ’08

Staff Reports
Unemployment rate dips, lowest since ’08

   The unemployment rate fell just slightly in January, amid a relatively small increase in jobs, dropping to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent in December, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

   But that was still good enough for the lowest rate since October 2008, when the number stood at 6.5 percent.
   When the unemployment rate decreased in December from 7 percent in November, much of the decline resulted from a reduction in the number of people looking for jobs. Those people are not included in the calculation of the unemployment rate, which factors in only active job seekers.
   In January, the number of people looking for jobs increased, which might have raised the unemployment rate, but the 113,000 jump in nonfarm employment — even though less than what some analysts had expected — kept the rate low.
   The civilian labor force, Americans over age 16 who have jobs or want them, rose by 499,000.
   The number of unemployed people fell to 10.2 million in January. The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more) declined by 232,000 in January to 3.6 million.
   Looking at the major worker groups, the unemployment rate between December and January, seasonally adjusted, changed little for adult men (6.2 percent), adult women (5.9 percent), teenagers (20.7 percent), whites (5.7 percent), blacks (12.1 percent)  and Hispanics (8.4 percent). The jobless rate for Asians, not seasonally adjusted, was 4.8 percent, up from 4.1 percent.
   The industry breakdown shows that construction added 48,000 jobs over the month, more than offsetting a decline of 22,000 in December. Other January job gains occurred in both residential and nonresidential building, nonresidential specialty trade contractors, and heavy and civil engineering construction.
   Manufacturing employment rose by 21,000, with gains in machinery, wood products and motor vehicles and parts.
   The wholesale trade supplied 14,000 new jobs, with most of the increase in nondurable goods. Mining provided 7,000 additional jobs in January.
   Employment in professional and business services rose by 36,000. Leisure and hospitality employment increased as well, adding 24,000 jobs.
   The retail industry fell somewhat, dropping 13,000 jobs. Within the industry, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores lost jobs, but motor vehicle and parts dealers added jobs.
   A 12,000 decline in federal government jobs was attributed mostly to a 9,000 drop at the U.S. Postal Service.
   There were few to no changes in other major industries, including health care, transportation and warehousing, information, and financial activities.
    The average workweek in January for all employees on private, nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours. The manufacturing workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.7 hours. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to $24.21. 


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