Despite the economy adding just 151,000 jobs in the month of January – falling short of the 190,000 economists predicted – unemployment rates fell to a near-eight year low at 4.9 percent, a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released Friday says.
The most employment gains were seen in retail trade, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing while losses were seen in private educational services, transportation and warehousing, and mining.
“Both the number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, and the unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, changed little in January,” BLS said in a statement. “Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.1 million and 0.8 percentage point, respectively.”
Over the course of the past 12 months, average hourly wages for private nonfarm payrolls increased by 2.5 percent over the last year with average hourly wages going up by 12 cents to $25.39. The average workweek also saw an uptick of .1 hour increasing it to 34.6 hours on average for the start of 2016.
The report indicates growth in the labor market may be slowing, as there were 257,000 jobs added in January of 2015.
The U-6 number, which takes underemployment into account, hovered at 9.9 percent – down from 12 percent the same month last year.
The government agency revised its employment gain numbers for the last two months of 2015, changing them from 252,000 to 280,000 in November and 292,000 to 262,000 in December – 2,000 less than previously reported.
Republican lawmakers said President Barack Obama’s economic policies are responsible for the country not meeting economist’s expectations.
“Every new job is important, but America is still missing millions of jobs that would be back by now if the Obama ‘recovery’ had been a normal recovery,” House Committee on Ways and Means Chairmen [crscore]Kevin Brady[/crscore] said in a statement. “That’s what higher taxes and excessive red tape on local businesses will do – block job creation, keep paychecks stagnant and force millions of people to give up looking for work.”
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