The Department of Labor released its employment situation report [link opens in PDF] for January today, and things are looking good but not great. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000, 10% less than analysts had expected. The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point to reach 7.9% for January.
While government jobs decreased by 9,000 from December to January, payroll increases in retail (+33,000), construction (+28,000), professional and business services (+25,000), and leisure and hospitality (+23,000) helped boost the private sector employment situation.
In a statement released today, Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris writes: "Our recovery from the Great Recession continues at a steady pace as we build on previous gains in job creation. ... Over the last three months, we've added an average of 208,000 private sector jobs, and that is a real testament to the resilience of our economy."
This latest report comes one day after the Labor Department reported an 11.5% increase in initial jobless claims for the week ending Jan. 26.