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US nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000 in January
and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9% according to the US
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2012, job gains averaged 181,000 per month. In
January, employment rose in retail trade, construction, health
care, and wholesale trade but edged down in transportation and
warehousing. The broad measure of employment was 14.4%.
The Hamilton Project of the Brookings
Institution estimates that the monthly natural growth of the labour force
through population change is 88,000 persons.
Retail trade employment grew by 33,000 over the month and
has increased by 213,000 over the past 12 months. In January,
employment continued to trend up in clothing and accessories
stores (+10,000), motor vehicle and parts dealers (+7,000), and
electronics and appliance stores (+5,000).
Construction employment increased by 28,000 in January.
Since reaching a low in January 2011, construction employment has
grown by 296,000, with one-third of the gain occurring in the
last 4 months. However, the January 2013 level of construction
employment remained about 2m below its previous peak level
in April 2006.
In January, health care added 23,000 jobs, about in line
with the average monthly gains in this industry during 2012. Over
the month, ambulatory health care services, such as doctors'
offices and outpatient care centers, added 28,000 jobs, while
employment in nursing and residential care decreased by 8,000.
Wholesale trade added 15,000 jobs in January, mostly in
nondurable goods. Since the recent low point in May 2010,
wholesale trade has added 291,000 jobs.
Transportation and warehousing employment edged down by
14,000 in January. Couriers and messengers shed 19,000 jobs over
the month, partially offsetting job gains in November and
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls rose by 4 cents in January to $23.78. Over the past 12
months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1%. From
December 2011 to December 2012, the Consumer Price Index for All
Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 1.7%.
In accordance with annual practice, the BLS said
that the establishment survey
data released today reflect the incorporation of benchmark
revisions. Each year, BLS re-anchors the sample-based survey
estimates to full universe counts of employment, primarily
derived from administrative records of the unemployment insurance
tax system. The level of nonfarm payroll employment in March 2012
was revised up by 424,000 (not seasonally adjusted) or 0.3%. The average benchmark revision over the past 10 years
was plus or minus 0.3%.
The unemployment rate, at
7.9%, and the number of unemployed persons, at 12.3m, were essentially unchanged over the month. The
unemployment rate has shown little or no change since September.
The labour force participation rate, at 63.6%, and the
employment-population ratio, at 58.6%, were unchanged in
Among persons who were neither working nor looking for work
in January, 2.4m were classified as marginally attached to
the labour force, down 366,000 from a year earlier. These
individuals had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the
survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked
for a job within the last 12 months. The number of discouraged
workers, a subset of the marginally attached, was 804,000 in
January, down by 255,000 from a year earlier.
In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000
in January, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged
The Wall Street Journal said that the real news in today’s report may not be in
January’s figures but in December and November’s, which were revised upward by a
combined 127,000 jobs.
November’s jobs growth now registers a fairly impressive 247,000 net gain in
(256,000 in the private sector), and employers added 196,000 jobs in December
despite fears of the Fiscal Cliff. The significance of the revisions goes beyond
their sheer size: The Labor Department’s initial estimates often lag behind
shifts in the job market, showing too little growth when hiring is speeding up
and too much when it is slowing down. So today’s revisions could be a sign that
the labour market is gaining steam.
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CNBC's Hampton Pearson breaks down the latest data on employment. And, discussing what it indicates about the health of the U.S. economy and its impact on Friday's markets, with Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics; Austan Goolsbee, Booth School of Business professor; Jared Bernstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Kelly King, BB&T chairman & CEO; and CNBC's Steve Liesman and Rick Santelli:
In a "Squawk Box" discussion about the January employment report, Tea Party supporter, Rick Santelli, takes issue with economist Austan Goolsbee's argument that while US growth is weak, it's still better than almost every other country in the "advanced world":