January Employment Report

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The unemployment rate declined from 10.0 to 9.7 percent in January.  Nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged(-20,000) and on net has shown little movement over the last 3 months.  In January, job losses continued in construction and in transportation and warehousing, while employment increased in temporary help services and retail trade.  With revisions released today, job losses since the start of the recession in December 2007 totaled 8.4 million, substantially more than previously reported.

Construction employment fell by 75,000 in January, about in line with the average monthly job loss in 2009.  Nonresidential specialty trade contracting accounted for the much of the over-the-month decline.  The nonresidential components of construction have accounted for the majority of the industry's job loss since early 2009.  Employment in transportation and warehousing decreased by 19,000 in January; the entire decline occurred in courier and messenger services, which laid off more workers than usual over the month.

Employment in temporary help services grew by 52,000 over the month.  This industry, which provides workers to other businesses, has added nearly a quarter of a million jobs since its recent low point last September.  Following 2 months of little change, retail trade employment increased by 42,000 in January, with gains in several components.  Health care employment continued to rise in January.  Overall, manufacturing employment was little changed, although motor vehicles and parts added 23,000 jobs.  Since June, the manufacturing workweek for all employees has increased by 1.2 hours.

Federal government employment rose in January, partly due to hiring for the decennial census.  Employment in state and local governments, excluding education, continued to trend down over the month.
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