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Friday, February 5, 2010

Payroll Employment Down 20,000; Unemployment Rate Down to 9.7 Percent

In January, payroll employment fell by 20,000. This followed a downwardly revised decline of 150,000 in December (previously -85,000). This downward revision however, was mostly counteracted by an upwardly revised gain of 64,000 in November (previously 4,000) Though job losses are continuing, the rate of loss is clearly slowing down and modest increases in payrolls are likely to begin in coming months.

The decline in payrolls was primarily due to a loss of construction jobs, which shed 75,000 over the month. Service sector jobs rose by 40,000 driven by the private sector. Public sector payrolls declined by 8,000.

Despite continued job losses, the unemployment rate which is measured by a different survey, fell 0.3 point to 9.7 percent. Due to the smaller sample size of the unemployment survey, it tends to be more volatile and single month changes often are less meaningful than a multiple month trend. The labor force participation rate, which had fallen sharply for months hitting a 24 year low as more workers likely became discouraged, rose slightly by 0.1 point.

Also of note is that, in this survey, annual revisions were included for the year ending in March 2009. Total payrolls were revised downward by 986,000 for the period. Total job losses therefore total 8.4 million since the beginning of the recession.




























































Jan Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug
Payroll Change (000s) -20 -150 64 -224 -225 -211
Goods Producing -60 -54 -33 -131 -121 -130
Services 40 -96 97 -93 -104 -81
Unemployment Rate 9.7 10.0 10.0 10.1 9.8 9.7
Labor Force Participation R. 64.7 64.6 64.9 65.0 65.1 65.4




10.02.05 (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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