Economy added 157k jobs in January, unemployment at 7.9%

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Retail trade, construction, health care, and wholesale trade added jobs over the month.

Household Survey Data

The number of unemployed persons, at 12.3 million, was little changed in January. The unemployment rate was 7.9 percent and has been at or near that level since September 2012.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.3 percent), adult women (7.3 percent), teenagers (23.4 percent), whites (7.0 percent), blacks (13.8 percent), and Hispanics (9.7 percent) showed little or no change in January. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.5 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.

In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.7 million and accounted for 38.1 percent of the unemployed.

 Both the employment-population ratio (58.6 percent) and the civilian labor force participation rate (63.6 percent) were unchanged in January.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 8.0 million, changed little 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.

In January, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 366,000 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 804,000 discouraged workers in January, a decline of 255,000 from 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 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in January had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

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