Micro-growth in jobs continued in January
The January jobs report is out and still doesn't offer a lot of encouragement to unemployed, underemployed, and discouraged workers.
The rate that includes all classifications of workers held steady at 14.4%. Meanwhile, the "official" unemployment rate rose by one tenth of a percent to 7.9%.
Employers added 157,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate, obtained by a separate survey of U.S. households, ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.9%.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected nonfarm payrolls to rise by 166,000 and that the unemployment rate would hold steady at 7.8%
Friday's report offers a mixed view of the labor market. January's data which show job growth decelerating, but revisions to 2012 figures show that employers were adding to payrolls faster than originally thought.
For all of last year, the economy added an average of 181,000 jobs a month, according to updated figures, better than the 153,000 pace originally reported. Underscoring that improvement, December's payroll figures were revised to a gain of 196,000 from an initially reported 155,000, while November increased to 247,000 from 161,000.
he change to last year's numbers in part reflects the Labor Department's annual benchmark revision, which incorporates newly available tax records. From April 2011 to March 2012, the economy added about 422,000 more jobs than previously believed.
Still, payrolls aren't rising fast enough to dent the unemployment rate, which showed that 12.3 million Americans who wanted a job couldn't find one last month. The rate increased as more people entered the work force.
That good news from the end of last year suggests that the 4th quarter 0.1% contraction in the economy will probably be revised upward next month. Even so, economists are not bullish on the outlook for the first part of this year:
The housing industry is rebounding and business investment appears solid, but government cutbacks have weighed on the economy and consumer attitudes have soured. That has led many economists to forecast a slow start to 2013, followed by faster growth in the second half.
The "recovery" is still very uneven and housing, while finally showing signs of growth, is still a drag on the economy in many areas. It's hard to see where strong growth is going to come from when so many sectors of the economy are as weak as a new born calf.