U.S. Unemployment Rate was little changed at 3.6% in January

February 10, 2020

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 225,000 in January, as the rate of unemployment was little changed at 3.6%, as stated by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics. Construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing reported job gains.

Construction increased in January (+44,000) as the segment added an average of 12,000 jobs in 2019, while healthcare continued its upward trend, adding 36,000 jobs in January 2020. Notably, healthcare added 361,000 jobs in 2019 over the past 12 months. Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 28,000 over the month and increased by 106,000 jobs over the year. Employment in leisure and hospitality, also, increased by 36,000 in January and added 288,000 jobs over the year. Furthermore, in January, employment in professional and business services rose by 21,000, increasing by 390,000 over the past year. The manufacturing segment experienced a little change in employment which decreased by 12,000 and was relatively unchanged over the past year. Moreover, employment within the other major industries (including mining, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities, and government) reflected little change over the month.

In January, the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 5.9 million, while the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) stood at 1.2 million. Notably, the total number of persons classified as long-term unemployed, accounted for 19.9% of the unemployed.

The labour force participation rate for January rose 0.2 percentage points to 63.4%, while the employment population ratio was little changed at 61.2%.

Persons employed part time for economic reasons stood at 4.2 million in January. Based on BLS assessment, “these individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.”

A total of 1.3 million individuals were slightly attached to the labour force, little changed from last year. These persons were not in the labour force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the last year. Of the marginally attached, 337,000 persons were classified as discouraged workers in January, little changed over the month. These persons are not currently seeking for work as they believe no jobs are available for them.

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