Fewer New Jobs Added in January; Unemployment Rate Rises to 4.6%

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 111,000 in January, after 206,000 jobs were created in December, and the unemployment rate was edged up to 4.6% from 4.5% in December 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

The number of manufacturing jobs continued to decline as factories shed 16,000 jobs in January, marking the seventh straight month of job cuts. The construction sector added 22,000 jobs in January. 

  • Unemployment (Household Survey Data): The number of unemployed persons (7.0 million) and the unemployment rate (4.6%) were about unchanged in January. 
  • Total Employment and the Labor Force (Household Survey Data): In January, both total employment (146.0 million) and the employment to  population ratio (63.3%) were essentially unchanged. 
  • The civilian labor force (153.0 million) and the labor force participation rate (66.3%) were also about the same as in December. 

Based on the annual revisions to the payroll figures, the economy added an extra 754,000 jobs for the year that ended March 2006, one of the biggest revisions in recent years.

Monthly payroll growth also turned out to be stronger last year, with an average of 187,000 jobs being created per month, versus the 153,000 a month previously thought.

Factory Orders:

The Commerce Department reported that new orders placed with U.S. factories rose by 2.4% in December, the most in nine months. For all of last year, factory orders rose by 5.3%, down from 8.1% in 2005 and was the smallest increase since a 0.9% rise in 2003.

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