US Unemployment Rate Rises To 4.8% In January


US unemployment rate rose to 4.8 percent in January 2017 from 4.7 percent in the previous month and above market expectations of 4.7 percent. The number of unemployed persons was almost unchanged at 7.6 million while the labor force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Asians (3.7 percent) increased in January. The jobless rates for adult men (4.4 percent), adult women (4.4 percent), teenagers (15.0 percent), Whites (4.3 percent), Blacks (7.7 percent), and Hispanics  (5.9 percent) showed little or no change over the month. 

In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.9 million and accounted for 24.4 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 244,000.

After accounting for the annual adjustments to the population controls, the civilian labor force increased by 584,000 in January, and the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, was up by 457,000 over the month, and the employment-population ratio edged up to 59.9 percent. 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in January at 5.8 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. 

There were 1.8 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 337,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 532,000 discouraged workers in January, little changed from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in January had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. 

US Unemployment Rate Rises To 4.8% In January


BLS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
2/3/2017 1:39:01 PM