Friday, February 3, 2012

Good, Very Good: Almost 250,000 Jobs Added in January

The United States' unemployment rate fell to 8.3% in January, which is nice, but the real news is, of course, the jobs number and there the news was very encouraging - 243,000 jobs were added.  The BLS report also included upward revisions to the November and December numbers as well, adding another 60,000 jobs.  The private sector actually added 257,000 jobs in January but the public sector shed 14,000 jobs.

Last month I was sounding hopeful and got some blowback.  I remain hopeful that we are heading in the right direction and we are slowly, very slowly, gaining some momentum.  If we were able to sustain job numbers like these it would still take three years to get back to five percent unemployment.  But given how bad the economy got, given all of the 'overhang' of foreclosed houses keeping a lid on the housing market and given the banking cataclysm we went through, I think you have to be a realist and understand that it is not all going to get unwound in a few months and take comfort in the clear indication that the economy is now heading in the right direction.

Now let's all hope Europe can figure out its problems and we can all start rowing in the same direction.    


R said...

wow - lots of people stopped looking for work

Patrick Emerson said...

Yes, good point, this is why I focus on the jobs numbers and not the UI rate.

R said...

I appreciate that. It's just interesting to watch the Gov't fudge the rate for the sake of headlines.

and by interesting I mean pretty obvious and terrible.

Thoughts on this?

Patrick Emerson said...

I suspect we'll start seeing a load of new job seekers return to the market soon and may even see good job numbers while the UI rate actually rises because of it.

But I don't think there is any fudging - the UI rate is well-defined and it what it is. What I keep stressing it that in this situation, I think it is the wrong thing to focus on.

R said...

I mean shouldn't there be an explanation for a loss of that many job seekers?