Friday, February 24, 2012

243,000 new jobs created in January; Black unemployment dropped to 13.6%

January 2012 BLS Unemployment Report Review

The unemployment rate dropped nearly half a percent to 8.3% as 243,000 (257,000 private) new jobs were created. Job growth was spread across all sectors of the economy except in the government, information and finance areas. In a very hopeful sign, construction jobs increased by 21,000 jobs and manufacturing increased by 50,000 positions.

The National unemployment rate dropped to 8.3% as job market participation rates plummeted.

Black unemployment dropped to 13.6% which is more than 2% below the rate for 15.8% in December. The drop is attributed to people dropping out of the labor force and more blacks finding jobs. About 477,000 blacks found jobs last month. The black teenage unemployment rate was measured at 38%.

The general unemployment rate declined to 8.3% and so did the labor force participation rate which slid -0.3% to 63.7%. The white unemployment rate was 7.4%, the Hispanic rate was 10.5% and the black rate was 13.6%.

The decrease in the employment rate boosted the stock market and president Obama’s election chances. The stock market index is at the highest point since 2008. In political news, the house and senate extended the payroll tax cut, the financial markets reacted to record corporate profits and weekly unemployment claims were below 350,000.

The figures reported for January 2012 include new population figures. The population value reported by the BLS grew by 1.7 million but 1.5 million was due new census data. The estimate the non-institutional population increased by 175,000. Similarly, the civilian labor force increased by 250,000 persons. The long-term unemployed stayed at the 5.5 million figure which represents 43% of the unemployed.

Non-Farm Payrolls

If we look at the establishment data we see that hiring was strong across all areas of the economy: 243,000 jobs added. Let break down the numbers.

Retail employment added 11K positions post Christmas. Leisure and hospitality added 44,000 (33K in food service). And the always solid healthcare industry added 30,000 spots. Information employment decrease by -11,000 spots due to volitility in the movie and record industry. IT stayed flag at 240,000 jobs. Amazingly, non-farm payrolls were revised in November upward by +57K.

Average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours and wages added $0.04 cents in January following a $0.02 raise in December.

ADP reported an increase in payrolls of 170,000 positions.

The Monster Employment Index moved down to 133 index units (what the heck is that) from 140 in December. Hiring was up 9% compared to same month last year but down 2% for the month. Monster blamed the post Christmas slowdown.

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