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Happy Days! Unemployment Rate Down .2%

From a giddy Associated Press:

Unemployment rate hits 8.3 pct. after hiring burst

February 3, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate fell for the fifth straight month after a surge of January hiring, a promising shift in the nation’s outlook for job growth.

The Labor Department says employers added 243,000 jobs in January, the most in nine months.

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent from 8.5 percent in December. That’s the lowest in nearly three years.

That is to say it is the lowest it has ever been under Obama, after his first month in office. And it is still a full 1% higher than unemployment ever was under President Bush. (Which only 7.3% in December 2008.)

Employers have added an average of 201,000 jobs per month in the past three months. That’s 50,000 more jobs per month than the economy averaged in each month last year.

The January jobs report was filled with other encouraging data and revisions. Hiring was widespread across many high-paying industries. Pay increased. And the economy added 200,000 more jobs in 2011 than first thought.

And we believe it, too!

Still, it has been two years and seven months since the recession officially ended in June of 2009. How is it possible that unemployment is still this high? (And, in reality, much higher than this.)

For the record, many economic experts were predicting that hiring would turn out to have been down in January. Such as the mavens at Reuters:

Job growth seen slower in January

By Lucia Mutikan
February 3, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. employment growth probably slowed in January as messengers hired during the busy holiday shopping season were laid off, but the improving labor market trend should remain intact.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 150,000 after increasing 200,000 in December, according to a Reuters survey. The unemployment rate is seen holding steady at a near three year low of 8.5 percent…

They probably underestimated the Labor Department’s determination to get Obama re-elected.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, February 3rd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Happy Days! Unemployment Rate Down .2%”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Ve musscht make ze numberz verk zo der Fuhrer ischt re-elecked, ya. Und zo you VILL komply mit orderz frum das kapital und make it zo! (But don’t make it too obviousch)

    (Think Harvey Korman)

  2. tranquil.night says:

    I’m looking forward to the Petronius Report in rebuttal.

    The reality is there’s been another very serious round of layoffs going on in the traditionally more stable big businesses and high tech industries getting hit had too. These aren’t temporary and retail jobs going through their cycle; these are a lot of skilled jobs that once they’re lost, many times they’re gone for good or for a very long time.

    • Petronius says:

      Yes TN, the Jan report will be coming soon.

      Defense, aviation, and aerospace industries are heading for heavy layoffs due to cuts in defense and NASA programs. These are high skilled, high tech jobs that are not easily replaced. Many of these cuts will probably not materialize until after the Nov election, but they are coming.

      Also, gains in employment are occurring as the result of fewer workers rather than economic growth. If the labor force participation rate had held steady in Jan (instead of declining), BLS U3 unemployment would have actually gone up to 8.6%.

      I will also have more to say in the Jan report about the phenomenon of Americans leaving the country, mostly the one percenters.

      Unfortunately the Petronius report may be discontinued after the Jan issue. There are several reasons: some of my on-line subscriptions are expiring and I’m not going to renew them, and economic data from public sources is of doubtful reliability; Girl Genius (youngest daughter) who contributes to the Petronius report is moving on to other things; and the loss of the Edit function on S&L makes these postings too difficult.


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