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.