Mixed Jobs Report for January (BLS)

by Chris Sturr | February 05, 2010

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its employment numbers for January. It is a mixed report: the official unemployment rate fell from 10.0% to 9.7%, yet the economy lost 20,000 non-farm jobs. This means that the decline in the rate of unemployment has to do with people who aren’t (fully) employed but aren’t counted as unemployed (i.e. they have become discouraged or marginally attached). The BLS also revised upward its estimate of the number of jobs that were lost in Dec. 2009, from 80,000 up to 150,000. Here are the basics from the BLS:

THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JANUARY 2010

The unemployment rate fell from 10.0 to 9.7 percent in January, and nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged (-20,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 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 persons 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, not seasonally adjusted.

This release includes new household survey tables with information about employment and unemployment of veterans, persons with a disability, and the foreign born. 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. Persons with a disability had a higher jobless rate than persons with no disability–15.2 versus 10.4 percent. In addition, the labor force participation rate of persons 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. (The data in these new tables are not seasonally adjusted.)

In January, the number of persons unemployed due to 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 over) 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 5.0 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 persons 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 persons were marginally attached to the labor force in January, an increase of 409,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) 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 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.1 million discouraged workers in January, up from 734,000 a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons 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 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Read the full report.

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  1. If you examine the “not seasonally adjusted” raw figures date, you’ll notice that the official U.S. jobless rate apparently increased to 10.6 percent between December 2009 and January 2010, as indicated in following update:

    Black Male Worker Jobless Rate Jumps To 19.5 Percent

    The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20-years of age in the United States jumped from 16.7 to 19.5 percent between December 2009 and January 2010; while the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all Black workers—youth, male and female–jumped from 15.6 to 17.3 percent between December 2009 and January 2010, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age also jumped from 12.4 to 13.3 percent between December 2009 and January 2010; while the “ not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black youth between 16 and 19 years of age was still 43.5 percent in January 2010.

    The number of unemployed Black workers jumped from 2,775,000 to 3,059,000 between December 2009 and January 2010, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” figures; while the number of unemployed white workers jumped from 10,928,000 to 11,952,000, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” figures. In addition, the number of unemployed Hispanic or Latino workers jumped from 2,890,000 to 3,132,000 between December 2009 and January 2010, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

    The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Hispanic or Latino male workers over 20 years of age also jumped from 12.8 to 13.8 percent between December 2009 and January 2010. For all Hispanic or Latino workers over 16 years of age (which takes into account the 37.3 percent “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino youth), the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate jumped from 12.9 to 13.9 percent between December 2009 and January 2010.

    For white male workers in the United States over 20 years of age, the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate increased from 9.6 to 10.7 percent between December 2009 and January 2010, while the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white female workers over 20 years of age increased from 6.8 to 7.1 percent between December 2009 and January 2010.

    The “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Asian-American workers was still 8.4 percent in January 2010, while the official “not seasonally adjusted” national jobless rate for all U.S. workers jumped from 9.7 to 10.6 percent between December 2009 and January 2010.

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