Unemployment Rate Up To 7.9 Percent, 157,000 Jobs Added In January

The US unemployment rate is up to 7.9 percent, with 157,000 jobs added in January, according to the Labor Department on Friday.

The job creation rate was below the expected 165,000 and also down from December’s revised 195,000 number. The unemployment rate also jumped slightly from 7.8 percent in December to 7.9 percent.

Despite the slightly disappointing numbers, the pace of job creation still shows a moderate growth in the economy, reports The Los Angeles Times. It could help to ease concerns of a possible second recession.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised job gains for October, November, and December, moving them sharply up. The initial total was 453,000, but the new number is 603,000.

Kathy Bostjancic, the director of macroeconomic analysis at the Conference Board, stated:

“With a gain of 157,000 jobs in January, the employment situation continues to improve despite slow economic growth. The good news is that January’s employment gains … may translate into more consumer spending power.”

Bostjancic added, however, “The bad news is that unemployment remains stubbornly high.” The New York Times notes that construction has been one of the most promising sectors. Retailing, health care, and wholesale trade also added positions in January. In contrast, the government shed jobs again.

It is possible that continued polarization in Washington over budgeting and higher tax rates could continue to put a damper on consumer confidence and hiring at the beginning of the year. Christine Owens, executive director at the National Employment Law Project stated:

“The combination of eliminating the payroll-tax forgiveness along with continued stagnation in wages, I think, could be a real hit in terms of jobs.”

Do you think that the new jobs report is encouraging, despite the slight uptick in the unemployment rate?

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