- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
- ‘Duck Dynasty’ Phil Robertson suspended ‘indefinitely’ for gay quip
- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
Unemployment rate fell to 9% in January
Question of the Day
The nation’s unemployment rate plunged from 9.4 percent to 9 percent last month apparently as thousands of people decided to sit out snowstorms and suspended their search for work, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.
The big snowstorms and extremely cold weather that hit the Northeast, Midwest and other broad swaths of the country also kept employers from adding many people to payrolls during the month. Only 36,000 new jobs were created — far less than the 150,000 openings that economists had predicted.
Construction employment was hit particularly hard, plummeting by 32,000, and courier and messenger services laid off a lot of people after the Christmas holidays. But even the professional and business services sector — which is the largest source of jobs in the economy most of the time — generated only 31,000 last month, about half the recent pace of jobs gains there.
The department estimated that bad weather kept 707,000 Americans from working during the month, more than twice the average number of absences in January of 282,000 over the past five years, he said.
But even though the weather was unusually severe, the reaction by workers and employers was surprising, since usually it prompts them to cut back on hours, not on jobs, he said.
“Weather usually hits the average workweek more than the job count since even if a worker shows up just one day they are still employed,” he said. The average workweek declined by only 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours in January while wage gains held up at just under 2 percent over the year.
The plunge in the unemployment rate, which hovered near 10 percent for most of last year, was particularly startling and was concentrated among men and Hispanics. It was the second month in a row for such a large drop, and suggests that thousands of people are simply giving up their search for work and leaving the labor force.
Revisions published by the department show that overall about 452,000 fewer people had jobs at the end of last than previously estimated.
Heidi Shierholz, an economist for the Economic Policy Institute, said the overall report was “muddled” by last month’s extreme weather, but said the downward revision in the number of jobs generated by the economy last year provided a dismal footnote to the already depressing and historic job losses recorded during the recession.
“One thing is crystal clear: The U.S. labor market started 2011 with half a million fewer jobs than it had 11 years ago,” Ms. Shierholz said. That points to the “enormity of the current labor market crisis,” she said.
The report seemed to dash hopes among many analysts that the job market would start to pick up after signs that the broader economic recovery accelerated at the turn of the year.
“Given the confounding nature of this report, we will have to wait at least another month to see if the labor market is rebounding strongly,” Ms. Shierholz said.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Federal Reserve surprises with pullback on bond stimulus plan
- Fed eases up on stimulus bond-buying program
- Canadian court backs plaintiffs in Chevron case of Ecuadorean rain forest pollution
- H2OIL: New fuel technology gulps water, threatens supply
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- NAPOLITANO: NSA spies pick up interference from the Constitution
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson: Gays 'wont inherit the kingdom of God'
- John McCain to Harry Reid: Ill kick the crap out of you
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Nobody likes to talk about dying. But we can help.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow