U.S. Economy Added 157,000 Jobs, While Unemployment Rate Inches Up To 7.9 Percent

The U.S. jobs market continues to show signs of growth, with U.S. employers adding 157,000 jobs in January, according to Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While this is good news, one negative was that the unemployment rate rose slightly from 7.8 percent in December to 7.9 percent. 

Tempering any negativity of a slight tick upward in the unemployment rate; however, the BLS also reported revisions to previous numbers reported, showing a better jobs growth picture for November and December, as well as last year as a whole. November’s numbers were revised from 161,000 to 247,000; and for December, from 155,000 to 196,000. The job growth rates were also adjusted for last year, showing that the U.S. economy added an average of 181,000 jobs per month in 2012 – this is an increase from previous estimates of 150,000 per month.

Among labor and diversity groups, the unemployment rate continues to remain relatively flat. The unemployment rates for adult men and women held at 7.3 percent, teenagers continue to experience the highest rates of unemployment (23.4 percent), whites (7.0 percent), African Americans (13.8 percent), and Hispanics (9.7 percent) showed little or no change in January 2013 compared with December 2012; the jobless rate for Asians held at 6.5 percent.

Job gains continued to occur in similar sectors as the previous month, including retail trade, adding 33,000 jobs; construction, with 28,000 added; and health care, which added 23,000 jobs. Employment decreased in transportation and warehousing in January (-14,000); and couriers and messengers (-19,000 jobs) as well as air transportation (-5,000 in January) also showed a decline.

Employment in financial activities, professional and businesses services, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little change over the month.

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