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US Economy Adds 243,000 Jobs in January, Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.3%

| February 3, 2012

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The economy’s recovery continued to solidify as employers added 243,000 jobs in January, the third-best total in three years, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. Job gains for November and December were also revised to add 60,000 to the tally, for a total of 360,000 jobs over those two months.

Job growth was widespread in the workforce, with gains in professional services, tourism and manufacturing. The total number of officially unemployed persons fell to 12.7 million, and the unemployment rate is now at its lowest in three years: it was last at 8.3 percent in February 2009, the first full month of Barack Obama’s presidency. The improving numbers play into an election year driven mostly by economic conditions.

Private sector employment actually rose by 257,000, but was offset with still-more layoffs in government ranks. Tourism and hospitality services such as restaurants added 44,000 jobs, professional and business services added 70,000, department stores added 19,000, and manufacturing added a healthy 50,000 jobs. Construction, too, increased by 21,000, following December’s increase of 31,000.

“It’s an unequivocally robust number. There’s been a lot of skepticism over whether [recent stock gains] represented anything material. This reinforces that businesses are regaining confidence and increasing hiring,” David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Boston, tells the Wall Street Journal.

But underlying numbers still raise concerns: the number of long-term unemployed (those who’ve been jobless for 27 weeks or more) remains stuck at 5.5 million, accounting for almost 43 percent of the unemployed. And when the unemployed are added to those who are employed part-time involuntarily, and those who have quit looking for work altogether, the unemployment and under-employment rate rises to 15.1 percent. That rate is still a considerable improvement over the 17.3 percent rate of a year ago.

According to a new report by the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative, 4.4 million people, or approximately 31.8 percent of the nearly 14 million Americans who were unemployed at the end of 2011 had been jobless for a year or more. Federal spending on unemployment benefits in 2011 is projected to total $120 billion, down from $159 billion the year before. In economically healthy years, unemployment compensation is usually below $35 billion.

Dow Jones editor Kevin Kingsbury added this caution: “A worrying point of the US jobs report is percentage of people in the work force slumping further, remaining at levels last seen nearly 30 years ago. While 508,000 more people were part of the labor force in January than December, 1.2 million more were out of it, according to the Labor Department. That pushed the participating rate down to 63.7% from 64%. Meanwhile, the number unemployed fell by 339,000 and there were 847,000 more people employed. That latter point is certainly good news, but growth in the non-labor-force population above every other number is still worrisome.”

And the federal numbers still contrast sharply with Florida’s and Flagler’s more anemic progress on the jobs front. Flagler’s unemployment rate is 13.9 percent, highest in Florida. Florida’s has been falling slowly, and is now at 9.9 percent.

The average workweek for all employees on private payrolls was unchanged in January. The manufacturing workweek increased by 0.3 hour to 40.9 hours, factory overtime increased by 0.1 hour to 3.4
hours. Average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $23.29, for a 1.9 percent increase over the past 12 months.

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17 Responses for “US Economy Adds 243,000 Jobs in January, Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.3%”

  1. Angela Smith via Facebook says:

    But in Flagler County it’s still in the double-digits; pardon me if I refrain from celebrating the latest numbers.

    • The Truth says:

      Flagler County was never a hot bed for jobs to begin with, so you have to expect this area to take a bit longer to get back t owhere it was. Flagler County and surrounding areas relies heavily on tourism. If people nationwide have no money, no one comes to Florida. If no one comes to Florida, many who rely on tourism (restaurants, theme parks, etc) cut employees or close up all together.

  2. Doug Chozianin says:

    Why did FlaglerLive bury the real unemployment rate of 15.1% in the last paragraph and penultimate sentence of the story???

  3. Linda says:

    The federal numbers do not match many of the states.

    Unemployment is now at 23% in parts of California. We will know when the jobs are back when our people are working.

    Many of these new jobs are government jobs, which means the salaries, benefits and retirement are being paid off the backs of the taxpayers.

    This is what is meant by BIG Government. It is the expense to the people. The larger is grows, the poorer we become.

    Big government does not translate to smart government. It is meant to assist us, not make us slaves to supporting it.

  4. Jojo says:

    Again, does some government officials go off separately to a remote cave to rub their head and excogitate to arrive at these numbers on a weekly basis.

  5. tjm says:




  6. Layla says:

    Anybody every hear of Government Gone Wild? Take a listen to this. We are growing government jobs, not civilian jobs.

    • The Truth says:

      I see a chart showing a decreasing number of unemployed. You can skew numbers to reflect your opinion on all if this any way you would like. The fact of the matter is that we added jobs, and you can’t deny that.

  7. Linda says:

    Suggest EVERYONE take a look at this, especially TheTruth.

  8. palmcoaster says:

    Tax Imports including Apple iphones,ipdas and other gadgest made by slaves at 70 cents/hour pay.
    These American Corporations and their share holders profit form slaves. Is this what we want for our workers pay and benefits:
    Tax imports as we need to recover our jobs at decent pay and benefits. These greed has to stop.

  9. palmcoaster says:

    Nokia following the lead of Apple…
    As slavery is very profitable to investors. Tax all imports and start with these electronic gadgets.
    Regarding the jobs we need, sure are not the jobs lied about in the next issue:
    The Keystone pipeline contractors already lied when said will use 75% of its steel from USA manufacturers and the rest from Canadian steel, even the Canadian steel will be made in Korea.. It was uncovered already on yesterdays arguments within the Energy Commision.They have not been approved the project and all the steel to be utilized within USA on this project has been already bought from India and already seats in Arkansas ready to be forged into pipes by about 200 workers there. Based on their lies they should take it back. This is why one of the many reasons our President has stopped the project to be analyzed and inquired again for in compliance. If they lied with the steel we should wonder what is the real hazard regarding environmental risks in those lands. Also that dirty oil is not for us is to be refined in Texas creating a lot of collateral pollutants in that area and exported. We sustain the pollution and the corporation makes billions.

  10. The American says:

    Do you really think the government tells us the whole truth as to unemployment? They are such liars. They tell the ignorant public anything they want to and the public believes them. Look at the unemployment in this county. How can it be eight percent nation wide.This is all political and for votes. Open your eyes and do not listen to what your government is telling you Americans. And the news media is just as bad. They never report the truth or what they should report to us.

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