The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in January. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting an increase of 160,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 7.9% in January from 7.8% at the end of 2012.
But November and December monthly payrolls were revised up by a total of 127,000 jobs. The broadest measure of unemployment, also known as U6, remained unchanged at 14.4 million. The BLS defines "U6" as "total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons."
Jack Ablin, chief investment officer for BMO Private Bank in Chicago, shared his assessment of the labor market with The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task and Lauren Lyster.
"I think the jobs market is improving," he says. "It seems like we are making slow and steady progress every month. In fact, I am starting to see a tightening labor market in certain sectors."
Industries that saw job growth in January include retail (up 33,000 jobs), construction (up 28,000 jobs) and health care (up 23,000 jobs). Transportation and warehousing saw a decline of 14,000 jobs and manufacturing remained relatively unchanged.
The weak fourth quarter GDP figure reported earlier in the week had many investors and economists worried that the economy might be headed back toward a recession. But the relatively positive jobs figure has squelched that sentiment, at least for now.
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