US job picture mixed
Job growth in the United States in January was short of expectations and the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% from 7.8%, according to figures released on Friday.
- Published: 1/02/2013 at 08:47 PM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
However, the Labor Department put an upbeat spin on its latest report, saying it was clear that hiring was continuing at a decent pace even though economic growth remained weak.
The department said payrolls rose by 157,000 in January compared with revised totals of 196,000 in December and 247,000 in November.
The revisions for November and December reflected the addition of 127,000 more new jobs over the two months than previously reported.
The revised job figures for November and December offered some hope in light of the surprising 0.1% contraction in overall US GDP in the fourth quarter of 2012, said analysts.
As well, the Labor Department noted, the hiring picture over the past two years looked better after its annual revisions. They showed that employers added an average of roughly 180,000 jobs per month in 2012 and 2011, up from previous estimates of 150,000. And hiring was stronger at the end of last year, averaging 200,000 new jobs in the final three months.
The closely watched report for January also showed an increase in hourly earnings and solid gains in construction and retail employment.
Construction jobs are expected to rise further as the housing market recovery gains momentum. Housing is expected to support the economy this year, taking over the baton from manufacturing.
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- Writer: News Agencies