US Jobless At 9.0%

US employment rose a meager 36,000 jobs in January, far less than expected, but the unemployment rate fell to 9.0%, its lowest level since April 2009.

The increase in nonfarm payrolls reported by the Labor Department on Friday was a quarter of the 145,000 increase that economists had expected.

“Weather did have an impact, construction was weak, below trend, and transportation and warehousing was also pretty soft and that could be affected by weather,” said Sean Incremona, an economist at 4Cast in New York.

The modest jobs gains are at odds with other data for January, which had suggested employment growth was picking up and had raised hopes that the manufacturing-driven recovery was now spreading to other sectors of the economy.

There was some good news in the employment report as the jobless rate fell to 9 percent from 9.4 percent in December. The household survey from which the unemployment rate is derived showed the number of unemployed dropped by about 600,000 last month.

The unemployment rate had previously declined largely as a result of people giving up the search for work, but in January the labor force was unchanged, even after adjustments for updated population controls.

“All economic data is two steps forward, one step back. We’re certainly going in the right direction; however, nowhere near as fast as everyone wants us to,” said Robert Lutts, president and chief investment officer at Cabot Money Management in Salem, Massachusetts.

via Reuters

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