Job creation broadens work force in January

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The U.S. economy added 257,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 5.7 percent, the Department of Labor said today.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said job gains occurred in retail trade, construction, health care, financial activities and manufacturing.

Reuters reported that although the jobless rate rose, the reason was an increase in the labor force, a sign of confidence in the job market.

The government revised its numbers for November and December to show that 147,000 more jobs were created than previously reported.

"By any measure this was an extremely good report. This report continues to add evidence that the consumer has the potential to continue to move along at this very constructive pace," Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York, told Reuters.

In January the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) was essentially unchanged at 2.8 million, the government said. Those people accounted for 31.5 percent of the unemployed. During the past 12 months the number of long-term unemployed is down by 828,000.

After accounting for annual adjustments to population controls, the civilian labor force rose by 703,000 in January, the government said. The labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percent, to 62.9 percent, after a decline of equal magnitude in the prior month. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, increased by 435,000 in January, and the employment-population ratio was little changed at 59.3 percent.

The number of people employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged in January, at 6.8 million.

Those people, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut or they were unable to find a full-time job.

In January, 2.2 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 358,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)

Those people 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 government’s survey.


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