United States: Unemployment inches up in January
February 1, 2013
In January, non-farm payrolls grew by 157,000, which came in well below the revised 196,000 rise observed in December (previously reported: 155,000 jobs). The reading undershot expectations, which had anticipated payrolls would rise by 175,000.
The private sector continued to be entirely responsible for new hiring by adding 166,000 jobs, with retail trade as well as construction recording the largest gains. The public sector, on the other hand, cut payrolls by 9,000 jobs and thus maintained the negative trend seen throughout most of the past two years.
The monthly figure marks the 27th consecutive monthly gains in non-farm payrolls and the U.S. economy has now recovered 5.5 million jobs since February 2010, which marked the trough of the crisis in the labour market. That said, despite the improvement seen in the past two years, the economy remains short by 3.2 million jobs compared to the peak reached in January 2008.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate - which derives from a different survey - inched up from 7.8% in December to 7.9% in January. The reading surprised the market on the downside, as analysts had the unemployment rate to fall to 7.7%.