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Today's Bureau of Labor Statistics announcement of a seasonally adjusted 157,000 new jobs created in January is a far cry from the comparable report for 2009. Four years ago, before Barack Obama had been behind the big desk in the Oval Office for a full three weeks, the BLS released a brutal report. The seasonally adjusted loss then was 818,000 jobs, the worst loss since October 1949 and the fourth worst since the government started publishing monthly statistics in 1939.

By the time that report landed on Obama's desk, the BLS had already counted 3.6 million lost jobs over the previous 12 months. And the hemorrhaging did not stop for another year. By then the Great Recession had, in 25 months, carved 8.8 million jobs out of the economy, forced millions of Americans from full-time work into part-time jobs and pushed millions of others to abandon the labor force altogether. Officially, the unemployment rate rose to 10 percent, but that didn't come close to measuring the extent of the damage.

We are still far from having recovered from the recession's devastating effects. But this morning's BLS report marks the 28th month in which more jobs were gained than lost, a total of 4.6 million since President Obama took office. With their adamant opposition to economic stimulus other than tax cuts, that's far more jobs than would have been the case if Republicans had been in charge. And far fewer than would be the case if a truly adequate stimulus plan with New Deal-style programs had been pushed past GOP congressional blockades.

For January, the private sector expanded by 166,000 jobs. Governments at all levels lost 9,000 jobs, for that net gain of 157,000. The official unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent. The consensus of experts surveyed by Bloomberg in the week before the announcement had predicted 185,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent.

The bureau sharply revised its previously reported growth in payroll employment for November from 161,000 to 247,000 and for December from 155,000 to 196,000. It counted 12.3 million Americans as officially unemployed. The number of Americans unemployed for six months or more fell to 4.7 million. The civilian labor force participation ratio remained steady at 63.6 percent; the employment-population ratio also held at 58.6 percent.

BLS also measures the job situation with an alternative gauge (called U6) that counts part-time workers who want full-time jobs and some but not all Americans who want jobs but have stopping looking for one. The U6 rate remained at 14.4 percent, the same as it has been since November.

(For more details about today's jobs report, please continue reading ...)

On Wednesday, TrimTabs Investment Research estimated that 135,000-155,000 new jobs had been created in January. The firm calculates payroll job growth based on daily tax deposits. Some analysts say TrimTabs' numbers are more accurate because it susses out many jobs from small companies that the BLS misses.

Automated Data Processing, one of the nation's largest payroll services companies, reported Thursday that, by its calculations, the economy generated 192,000 new private-sector jobs in January.

The BLS jobs report is the product of a pair of surveys, one of more than 410,000 business establishments called Current Employment Statistics, and one called the Current Population Survey, which questions 60,000 householders. The establishment survey determines how many new jobs were added, always calculated on a seasonally adjusted basis. The CPS provides data that determine the official "headline" unemployment rate, also known as "U3." That's the number which is now 7.9 percent.

As I frequently point out, the BLS report only provides a snapshot of what's happening at a single point in time. The jobs-created-last-month-numbers that it reports are not "real." Not because of a conspiracy, but because BLS statisticians apply seasonal adjustments to the raw data, estimate the number of jobs created by the "birth" and "death" of businesses, use other filters. In the fine print, they tell us that the actual number of newly created jobs reported is actually plus or minus 100,000.

That is, the actual number of jobs gained in January could have been as low as 57,000 or as high as 257,000. Which is one reason there are revisions announced every month for the two previous months plus additional "benchmark" revisions announced each February. The benchmark revision announced today raised the non-farm employment level for April 2011 to March 2012 by 422,000; that's 36,000 more than the BLS predicted would be the case last October. Revisions also found that for all of 2012, the average monthly jobs gain was 181,000 instead of the previously calculated 153,000.


Here's what the job growth numbers looked like in January over the previous 10 years:

January 2003: +  95,000
January 2004: + 162,000  
January 2005: + 137,000
January 2006: + 283,000
January 2007: + 236,000
January 2008: +  41,000
January 2009: -  818,000
January 2010: -   40,000
January 2011: + 110,000
January 2012: + 275,000
January 2013: + 157,000

Among other changes in today's job report:

Health care: + 23,000
Retail trade: + 33,000
Transportion and warehousing: - 14,000
Construction: + 28,000
• The average workweek (for production and non-supervisory workers) remained unchanged at 34.4 hours.
• Average manufacturing hours rose to 40.6 hours.
• The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls arose 4 cents to $23.78.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 05:57 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The revised Nov. and Dec. numbers are strange. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    What does it mean that we had such huge job growth in the immediate aftermath of Sandy?

    Did the South, Midwest, and West really boom in Q4?

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:18:20 AM PST

  •  Cue the FOX conspiracy theories! (8+ / 0-)

    All these revised numbers are an obvious trick of the Obama administration 'cooking the books', laying the groundwork for him to defy the Constitution and run for a THIRD Presidential term! CONNECT THE DOTS PEOPLE!!! 'scribbles furiously on blackboard'

    New Arizona State Motto; "Yeah, but it's a dry hate!"

    by Fordmandalay on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:18:43 AM PST

  •  We need a concerted boost in Public Sector... (11+ / 0-)


    I know we are unlikely get that with this Congress, but maybe California and a handful of other states can cobble together overall net Public Sector employment growth until we get a rational Congress.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:23:18 AM PST

  •  If Mitt Romney was elected president, (9+ / 0-)

    he'd have already created millions of jobs. And 11 million immigrants would have self-deported, so we wouldn't have to be discussing their fate right now.

    •  LOL.... (eom) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:54:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Romney had been elected he would have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      put in place the largest stimulus you've ever seen...with the argument that
      1/ the labour market is just too bad desperate measures are needed..
      2/ Obama stimulus was wrongly targeted and ineffecttive.
      -No one would say no...not even democrats.  GOP-OX...would spu a new twist on it - Romney is a business man and we should trust him...and deficits suddenly would no longer matter..
      The opposition to stimulus has nothing to do deficits or their swearing on the alter of private's was all about how do we harm Obama and defy him a second term...

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

      by tuma on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:12:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  BLS is full of CARD CARING SOCIALIST (8+ / 0-)

    Ha ha you LIBS fall for it AGAIN anybody knows the BLS is OBAMA/DEM TOOL SKEWING FIGURWES to Keep JESUS out of SCHOOL read JOHN 3:13!!! So WAKE Up america before it is TOO LATE.

  •  That's a good one! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, sethtriggs
    official unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent
    Is that from the Onion?
    •  Many moons ago ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My eldest granddaughter, when she was preteen (now she's a grandma), during a dining room conversation in which one of the adults at the table mentioned "official unemployment," asked, "Sabba, how did all the officials get unemployed?"  

      The wisdom of my forebears ... Two wise people will never agree. Man begins in dust and ends in dust — meanwhile it's good to drink some vodka. A man studies until he's seventy and dies a fool.

      by Not A Bot on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:05:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's nice. but I really appreciate the $75.00 (0+ / 0-)

    reduction in my monthly paycheck.

    Sure that will help the economy.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:31:28 AM PST

    •  It WILL help keep Social Security (7+ / 0-)

      because that is what it is taken from.  Don't let people get used to it because that's what the Republicans want - to finally get a hold of that Trust Fund... the one the Baby Boomers will be withdrawing from.

      Oh, and the powers that be want that money replaced somehow..... as in Privatizing Social Security so those same powers can take from time to time.

      Don't give them any reason or ammo please..

      -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

      by MarciaJ720 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:58:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It sucked for me too but I agree with it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Supavash, jck, sethtriggs

      Disinvesting in our safety net would just make a bad situation worse.

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:11:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody Said SQUAT when your checks went up. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Now that the payroll tax holiday is over, I hear many people talking about it; the bulk of them complaining how much it sucks that Obama's made their check smaller.

      None of these people said anything about how great it was when he made their check bigger for the last couple of years.

      In any case, if your check is too small, your beef is with your employer, not the government.  The government doesn't force or even encourage companies to minimize labor costs at the expense of workers' quality of life (which dampens economic overall economic activity and produces stagnation). That's the precious profit motive and market forces.

      If you want a discussion, please stick to arguing the point. If you wanted something else...please exit the vehicle.

      by robizio on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:43:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  first term jobs created (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarciaJ720, sethtriggs

    1.194 million jobs.[1/13-1/9, total non-farm from establishment survey]  Just last week there was a Republican on Bill Maher trying to claim that there have been no jobs created since Obama took office.

    •  They blame Obama for every job loss.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PorridgeGun, sethtriggs

      ...that happened on his watch, even the ones that happened before the stimulus or his first budget.

      So, economy was in a freefall when he walked in, and they immediately started blaming him for the job losses.

      Be like you driving a car over a cliff and I grab the wheel as we're hurtling through the air, and you say "the last 80 feet is your fault."

      Thankfully, a majority of voters didn't buy it.

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:15:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some sorta kinda good news? (0+ / 0-)

    Looking for silver linings in the unemployment rate, I am left with this:

    1. a tenth of a percent doesn't mean squat from one month to the next.  Up or down, it can easily be noise.

    2. But, if it's real -- in the light of new jobs that exceed population growth, that would have to mean some people are coming back into the labor market.

    3.  That could be hope inspired by economic activity, but it could also be desperation.  The single biggest category of new jobs was low-wage retail jobs, but there was a pulse detected in construction jobs -- which tend to pay well, and health care jobs, that tend to pay better than retail.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:54:15 AM PST

  •  After 10 mos. my spouse found a job (7+ / 0-)

    At age 60, he wasn't ready to retire - took a while (degree in computer science and a MBA), his company was sold twice and he was let go. He had been receiving a lot more calls since September. Just cancelled our Golden Rule insurance (I am self-employed) - going out for a nice dinner tonight. Good luck to all you other well educated, over qualified guys with grey hair - just keep looking!

    •  The H-1B visa has been devastating (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CA wildwoman

      the the native IT work force including your husband.

      It is heartbreaking to watch elected congresspeople allow companies to bypass the U.S. workforce by claiming there are not enough IT professionals in the U.S.

      I know so many highly skilled people crowded out of their professions because of an outright lie.

      Just when things might be looking up, our elected senators put forth a bill to double the number of foreign indentured IT workers to 300,000 per year!

      I hope your husband is paying attention and being active against this.  His livelihood will depend on this.

  •  That last chart should be engraved on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scribeboy, sethtriggs

    George W. Bush's headstone.

  •  It's amazing how much the politics in DC (0+ / 0-)

    has affected the job market.  There was a big bump in hiring post election but a massive slow down in growth due to government job cuts. It seems the only thing truly holding us back right now is the job cuts at the public sector level, which have been by design from the Norquist GOP.  We have to find some way to get rid or neuter the Boehner House.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:10:21 AM PST

  •  I am self-employed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in an economically sensitive sector, and I have seen a big uptick in quotation requests. And more projects I am quoting are being approved.

    Businsses are starting to spend money...let's hope the debt ceiling sequester bullshit doesn't throw a monkeywrench into the machine.

  •  Then we "can" take a look. Not will. and what.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional

    ..does "take a look" achieve? A promise of nothing as it is meant to be  

    Froman: “It’s already overburdened. Let’s get it working. Let’s make sure the 23 states that aren’t reporting the names of people who are mentally ill and have violent tendencies, let’s get those reported and into the system and then we can take a look.” - emphasis added
    Exactly the same pretext as the immigration reform border commision contingency triggers obstruction.

    It's not honest. It's time for registering weapons like vehicles: boats, cars, trucks, trailers; all with a VIN (vehicle identification number) number as a requirement for any transfer of ownership

    Use the guns serial number enter it into a NICS database and co-ordinate that database with existing drivers license and/or vehicle registration data-base.  

    True story
    I traded in a motorcycle to a dealership for a larger model. Years later the sheriffs department called me. The motorcycle had been involved in a burglery, the owner of my old bike must not have completed the paperwork.

    I had filled out the release of interest paperwork (pinkslip) at the time. Proved it. But the point is ~ 10 years, (maybe more can't remember) after i last saw that bike they could still track it to me.

    Why can't guns be as effectively be tracked back to ANY seller private or otherwise using data-based serial numbers?

    This was the DMV for goodness sake - The DMV

    Also too: My drivers license has class C (regular two axle vehicles) and a M1 (motorcycle) both stamped.

    Why can't ownership of a gun be part of a driver license:  testing required: eye tests, knowledge of laws test, skill test. A gun owner would have their drivers license stamped with their gun registration and safety certificate. Easy - no?

    Read more:

  •  You know damn well, ... (0+ / 0-)

    If Romney were in office and these numbers turned up especially with the Dow turning 14k the GOP would be dancing in the streets and shouting about the power and financial genius of mitchy. If Obama shat gold the republicans would complain about the lack of stink.

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