National unemployment rate drops slightly to 9.7 percent
From press release
The unemployment rate fell from 10 to 9.7 percent in January, and nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged (minus 20,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Feb. 5. Employment fell in construction and in transportation and warehousing, while temporary help services and retail trade added jobs.
Household Survey data
In January, the number of unemployed people decreased to 14.8 million, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage point to 9.7 percent.
In January, unemployment rates for most major worker groups—adult men (10.0 percent), teenagers (26.4 percent), blacks (16.5 percent), and Hispanics (12.6 percent)—showed little change. The jobless rate for adult women fell to 7.9 percent, and the rate for whites declined to 8.7 percent. The jobless rate for Asians was 8.4 percent.
In January, the unemployment rate of veterans from Gulf War era II (September 2001 to the present) was 12.6 percent, compared with 10.4 percent for nonveterans. People with a disability had a higher jobless rate than people with no disability—15.2 versus 10.4 percent. In addition, the labor force participation rate of people with a disability was 21.8 percent, compared with 70.1 percent for those without a disability. The unemployment rate for the foreign born was 11.8 percent, and the rate for the native born was 10.3 percent.
In January, the number of people unemployed because of job loss decreased by 378,000 to 9.3 million.
Nearly all of this decline occurred among permanent job losers.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and longer) continued to trend up in January, reaching 6.3 million. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of long-term unemployed has risen by 5 million.
In January, the civilian labor force participation rate was little changed at 64.7 percent. The employment-population ratio rose from 58.2 to 58.4 percent.
The number of people who worked part-time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) fell from 9.2 to 8.3 million in January. These individuals were working part-time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
About 2.5 million people were marginally attached to the labor force in January, an increase of 409,000 from a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 1.1 million discouraged workers in January, up from 734,000 a year earlier. Discouraged workers are people not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million people marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Establishment Survey data
Total nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in January (minus 20,000). Job losses continued in construction and in transportation and warehousing, while employment increased in temporary help services and retail trade. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 8.4 million. Over the last three months, however, employment has shown little net change.
Construction employment declined by 75,000 in January, with nonresidential specialty trade contractors (minus 48,000) accounting for the majority of the decline. Since December 2007, employment in construction has fallen by 1.9 million.
In January, transportation and warehousing employment fell by 19,000, because of a large job loss among couriers and messengers (minus 23,000).
Employment in manufacturing was little changed in January (11,000). After experiencing steep job losses earlier in the recession, employment declines moderated considerably in the second half of 2009.
In January, job gains in motor vehicles and parts (23,000) and plastics and rubber products (6,000) offset small job losses elsewhere in the industry.
In January, temporary help services added 52,000 jobs. Since reaching a low point in September 2009, temporary help services employment has risen by 247,000.
Retail trade employment rose by 42,000 in January, after showing little change in the prior two months.
Job gains occurred in January among food stores (14,000), clothing stores (13,000), and general merchandise retailers (10,000).
Health care employment continued to trend up in January. Ambulatory health care services added 15,000 jobs over the month.
In January, the federal government added 33,000 jobs, including 9,000 temporary positions for Census 2010. Employment in state and local governments, excluding education, continued to trend down.
This release includes a new establishment survey table with information about women employees. In January, women made up 49.9 percent of total nonfarm payroll employment, compared with 48.8 percent when the recession began in December 2007.
Also new in this release are data about hours and earnings for all employees in the private sector. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was up by 0.1 hour to 33.9 hours in January. The manufacturing workweek for all employees rose by 0.3 hour to 39.9 hours, and factory overtime increased by 0.1 hour over the month. Since June, the manufacturing workweek has increased by 1.2 hours. In January, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.1 hour to 33.3 hours.
In January, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 4 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $22.45. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2 percent. In January, average hourly earnings of private production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $18.89.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from 4,000 to 64,000, and the change for December was revised from minus 85,000 to minus 150,000. Monthly revisions result from additional sample reports and the monthly recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process also contributed to these revisions.
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