US sees 243,000 jobs gains in Jan, jobless rate drops to 8.3%

03 February 2012 14:10  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US saw a net jobs gain of 243,000 in January, the Labor Department said on Friday, a much stronger advance than the 150,000 employment gain expected by most economists and one that drops the nation’s unemployment rate to 8.3%.

The jobs gain in January was even higher than December’s 200,000 advance in employment, an improvement that many thought was largely due to seasonal hiring around the Christmas holidays.

Some economists expected January’s employment figures to show a drop as those temporary seasonal workers were let go.

In its monthly report, the department said that job growth in the nation was widespread in the private sector, with large employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and in manufacturing.

The data show that the long-running decline in employment among federal, state and local governments abated in January, with little change reported for government workers.

In earlier monthly jobs reports, modest gains in private sector employment typically were more than offset by losses among government workers.

The department said that the number of Americans who want to work but cannot find jobs fell to 12.8m in January, down from the 13.1m mark in December.

The unemployment rate has declined steadily if slowly since October’s 9% jobless rate.  It fell to 8.6% in November and edged down to 8.5% in December.

The US economy needs to generate around 150,000 new jobs each month just to keep pace with population growth.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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