Thursday, March 21, 2013

January 2013 Employment Review: No Big News here just steady growth

Yes, I know it's March, but we are playing catch-up.

The January 2013 employment situation report was issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on February 1st, 2013.  The report had no news, which is good news.  The unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.9% and Non Farm Payroll increased by 157,000 workers.  The most economists believe the Non Farm Payroll (NFP) number must be greater than 200,000 to reduce unemployment. Construction and retail trade added jobs as did healthcare and leisure/hospitality.

So, if we had to pick a story for January, it would be: We won the election.  Whew!!! But the majpr labor  economic story was the drop in median (half above/half below) unemployment duration.  It dropped from 18 weeks in December 2012 to 16 weeks in January 2013. A huge change due to the long-term unemployed either finding work or dropping out of the labor force.

The BLS also published some interesting data on 2012  revisions.  The changes add an additional 335,000 jobs over the year. So the economy was better than we thought in 2012. I still laugh at Mitt Romney calling one unemployment report, "a hammer blow to the middle class."  All I can say again is: whew! that was close.

In other news, Washington has been focused on mandatory budget cuts collectively known as "the  sequester." Obama overstated the impact of the cuts to try to get a larger deal with the Republicans.

Household Survey Results

Every significant measure showed little or no change in January. The unemployment rate moved up slightly to 7.9%.  There were 12.3 million people unemployed. The labor force participation rate stayed at 63.6%.
U-6, which measures the number of people who want jobs or additional hours was 14.4%.

The chart below shows the gradual decline in the national unemployment rate which is currently at 7.9%.

The white(7.0%), black(13.8%) and Hispanic (9.7%)  employment rates also barely changed in January. The estimated "real" black unemployment rate (black U-6) was 20.3%. Rate has moved little since January 2012 (20.4%). 

The black labor force grew by 238,000 to 18.6 million. Sixteen million black people were employed and labor force participation rate was 61.75%.

The number of long-term unemployed stayed at 4.7 million but the median duration of unemployment decreased by two week to 16.0 weeks. Median duration was 20.8 weeks in January 2012.  The percentage of people who are unemployed longer than 26 weeks also shrank to 38%. Two million, four hundred thousand workers were classified as marginally attached and 800K as discouraged.  Both groups has seen large drops in their numbers during 2012.

The economy continued to make progress "filling in" the job hole created by the recession. The economy has added approximately 5.5 million jobs since February 2010.

Business Survey Results

Non Farm Payrolls grew by 157,00 jobs. Jobs grew in construction,  wholesale and retail trade, business services, health care and leisure and hospitality.

The private sector added 166,000 jobs and government gave back 9,000. 

Every sector added jobs except for transportation and government. 

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