Friday, February 05, 2010
The Labor Department reported that the jobless rate fell from 10.0 percent in December to 9.7 percent in January and nonfarm payrolls declined by 20,000. Benchmark revisions to prior data and updated seasonal adjustment factors resulted in an additional decline of 1.2 million in payrolls, bringing the total job loss from the start of the recession to 8.4 million.
In a bit of hopeful news, the originally reported November job gain of 4,000 - the first net increase since December of 2007 - was revised substantially higher to 64,000.
Other recent month revisions saw the October total of -127,000 revised to -224,000 and the December figure of -85,000 lowered to -150,000 for net revisions of -102,000 over the last three months.
The decline in the jobless rate was due to an increase of 541,000 workers in January as the number of people in the labor force rose by just 111,000 bringing the participation rate up from 64.6 in December to 64.7 last month.
The number of workers settling for part-time work because they can't find full-time work fell by almost 1 million, lowering the broad U6 under-employment measure from 17.3 percent to 16.5 percent.
As for nonfarm payrolls, the manufacturing sector added 11,000 jobs last month, the first gain in three years, while retailers added 42,100 jobs and temporary help increased by 52,000. The government's 2010 Census program has started the process of hiring over one million workers this spring, however, due to cutbacks at the state and local level, overall government employment fell by 8,000.
Construction employment fell by 75,000, a full 60,000 of this total coming from the commercial building sector, while financial firms reported 16,000 fewer workers and the leisure and hospitality sector shed 14,000 jobs.
There will be more to come on the benchmark revisions shortly.