Odd Jobs Report

Dave Johnson

Today’s monthly jobs report was odd. There were few new jobs, but the unemplopyment rate dropped again as even more people gave up looking for work.

This month they blame the weather for the lack of government action on job-creation or helping state and local governments prevent layoffs, infrastructure modernization, trade-policy adjustment, Wall Street-predation, income inequality and other things causing the jobs crisis,

Although some economists said they would largely disregard January’s data because of the effects of bad weather, others said that underlying job growth was still not robust.

“You can blame weather for the number being as low as it is,” said Steve Blitz, a senior economist for ITG Investment Research. “But even if you abstracted out the weather, you’re still not getting the dynamic job growth that is going to cut the unemployment rate significantly.”

Private companies added 50,000 jobs in January, while federal, state and local governments shed 14,000 jobs.

The Chart

From Calculated Rick:

Calculated Risk also says,

The 36,000 payroll jobs added was far below expectations of 150,000 jobs, however this was probably impacted by bad weather during the survey reference period. If so, there should be a strong bounce back in the February report.

Even More People Gave Up Looking

LA Times, Unemployment falls to 9% but job growth remains sluggish,

… as in December, the official unemployment rate dropped in part because many more workers left the labor market — an indication that many people aren’t finding opportunities or don’t believe there’s a job for them in the current economy.

Dean Baker

Dean Baker, in Unemployment Rate Drops Another 0.4 Percentage Points, Despite Weak Job Growth,

For the second consecutive month, the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points, despite the weak job growth reported in the establishment survey. The establishment survey showed a gain of just 36,000 jobs in January, following a revised gain of 121,000 jobs in December.

. . . There were also 524,000 people involuntarily working part-time. This figure is down by 1.1 million from its September level.

. . . There is little evidence that employers are about to pick up the pace of hiring. Jobs in the temp sector increased by just 13,200 after rising at an average rate of 31,500 in the prior three months. Average weekly hours actually fell slightly from 34.3 to 34.2 hours. And wage growth remains very weak with the average hour wage increasing at just 1.54 percent annual rate over the last quarter, down from a 1.96 percent rate over the last year.

AAM

Alliance for American Manufacturing Statement on Latest Monthly Jobs Report:

“The silver lining in this otherwise odd jobs report is manufacturing, which gained 49,000 jobs in January. That is a strong number, coming off the worst decade in history for this crucial sector of the economy. But we will not sustain these gains unless our lawmakers focus on policies to reduce our trade deficit, invest in infrastructure and clean energy manufacturing, and develop a long-term strategy to strengthen America’s productive capacity.”

Roosevelt Institute’s New Deal 2.0: Today’s Job Report: Unemployed Far More Likely to Drop Out Than Find a Job,

The percentage of unemployed who will drop out of the labor force is increasing, gaining over those who will find a job. This is unique in the post-World War II economy — and only getting worse.

We Have To Grow Out Of Deficits

Deficit reduction requires an economy that grows and creates lots of good jobs that pay well. Cutting back on the very things that create jobs and raise wages in the name of deficit cutting is irresponsible. You have to invest now to cut the deficit later. Did the “spending” that built the interstate highway system grow the deficit? No, it grew the economy. Infrastructure is the soil in which business thrives and jobs flourish.

March 10 Summit on Jobs and America’s Future

On March 10, 2011, the Summit on Jobs and America’s Future will bring together leaders and activists who understand that America faces a jobs crisis – and who are committed to building a political movement for sustainable economic growth, dynamic job creation, and a revival of the American economy.

Free. $15 with lunch. Register here.

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