Unemployment at 7.9% in January


WASHINGTON (PAI) - The nation's unemployment rate was 7.9% in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said, up 0.1% from December's figure. A separate survey showed businesses claimed to create 157,000 new jobs last month.

The number of unemployed rose by 126,000 to 12.33 million. Another 161,000 people dropped out of the labor force, bringing that figure to just over 89 million.

Some 4.71 million jobless workers (38.1%) in January were unemployed for more than 26 weeks, meaning they exhausted their state unemployment benefits. That's 58,000 fewer than in December, when 39.1% of jobless workers were long-termers.

"The average duration of unemployment spells dropped by two weeks, the largest ever," added Dean Baker of the pro-worker Center for Economic and Policy Research. "This is obviously the result of the reduced length of benefit duration.

"There clearly was no surge in employment in response to workers losing benefits. Apparently many simply gave up looking for work," he added. Baker did not say so, but jobless benefits cuts are in GOP-run states, like Michigan and Florida.

The jobless rate understates the depth of the nation's slow recovery from the Great Recession, also known as the Bush Crash: Combined, BLS said the unemployed, those working part-time when they really want full-time jobs and workers so discouraged they stopped seeking work totaled 20.9 million workers, or one of every seven (14.4%).

Factories gained 4,000 jobs in January, to 11.95 million. There were 1.2 million jobless factory workers (7.9%). Construction gained 28,000 jobs in January, with virtually all that increase at specialty trade contractors. But there were 13.22 million jobless construction workers (16.1%). Construction union leaders say the real unemployment rate is closer to double that.

Service firms claimed they added 130,000 jobs, with almost half of those in two low-paying sectors: Retail trade (+32,600) and health care (+27,600). Governments shed 9,000 jobs in January, split almost evenly between layoffs in the federal government and in local schools.

"This is certainly not the rapid employment growth needed to drive down unemployment," said Economic Policy Institute analyst Heidi Shierholz. "It's like we're in Bill Murray's Groundhog Day: Each month we wake up to the same report, with all the indicators - employment, unemployment, labor force participation, hours, wages - painting the same picture over and over." The jobs deficit "is so large that at January's growth rate, it would take until 2021 to get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate" of 5%, she added.

Photo: Chicago Jobs with Justice Facebook page.

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  • More proof that there is no 'recovery' for the capitalist economy to have. The chickens are coming home to roost. The industrial economy in the USA is dead, they didn't just lay off a few shifts, they tore down the buildings. There is no where to go back to work at. The only surviving portion is a piece of the automobile industry. According to reports released this week Government employment, once considered to be one of the most secure segments of the economy for working folks is the portion of the economy that is shedding jobs the fastest. For those who are still employed there, they have likely lost their benefits, had them curtailed, or had their pay frozen, all part of the mania to "stop spending". In an effort to destroy Unions and maximize profit we have reversed one of the great producer economies - making durable goods and industrial products at family sustaining union wages to nothing but a 'consumer' economy propped up by low wage employees making their purchases on credit. But when those workers lose their jobs and the bills come due, there is no one left to participate in the economy. There is no way it can 'grow'. We are not selling goods to other countries because we don't make anything here. We can't afford to buy the foreign made products because we're all broke. The world wide capitalist economy is coming to a halt. And right soon.

    Posted by Joseph Zimmermann, 02/02/2013 10:04am (3 years ago)

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