Unemployment Rate Hits 8.3% After Hiring Burst

Unemployment rate hits 8.3% after hiring burstWASHINGTON (AP) - In the most impressive surge for the job market since early last year, the United States added 243,000 jobs in January, far more than economists expected. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent, the lowest in three years.

Hiring accelerated across the economy and up and down the pay scale. The high-salary professional services industry added 70,000 jobs, the most in 10 months. Manufacturing added 50,000, the most in a year.

"This is a very positive employment report from almost any angle," said Brian Bethune, an economics professor at Amherst College.

The report seemed certain to shake up the presidential campaign, which is expected to turn on the economy. The unemployment rate is the lowest since February 2009, one month after President Barack Obama took office.

The report Friday from the Labor Department sent money pouring into the stock market, already off to its best start in 15 years because of improving confidence in the economy, and out of more conservative investments in bonds.

The Dow Jones industrial average shot 160 points higher to 12,865 in the first hour of trading. That is 55 points better than its highest close since the financial crisis struck in the fall of 2008.

It was the most jobs added since and March and April of last year, when 246,000 and 251,000 jobs were created. Before that, the last month with stronger hiring, excluding months skewed by temporary census jobs, was March 2006.

The government said hiring was stronger in November and December by 60,000 jobs than first estimated. It was also stronger over the past two years than previously thought. The economy added 1.82 million jobs last year, nearly twice as many as in 2010.

The unemployment rate was down two notches from the 8.5 percent reading last month. It was also the fifth consecutive month the rate has fallen, the first time that has happened since late 1994.

Employers have added an average of 201,000 jobs a month in the past three months. That's 50,000 more jobs per month than the economy averaged in each month last year.

The Labor Department's January jobs report was filled with other encouraging data and revisions. The economy added 200,000 more jobs in 2011 than first thought.

The unemployment rate is nearly a percentage point lower than over the summer, when many feared a recession was imminent.

Impressively, the job gains last month were spread across the economy. Even the beleaguered construction sector added 21,000 jobs, its second month of strong gains. That figure has probably been helped by unseasonably warm weather this winter.

The leisure and hospitality industry, which includes restaurants and hotels, added 44,000 jobs. Retailers added nearly 11,000.

The unemployment rate fell even as more people began looking for work. But a much larger number said they found work.

More jobs and higher incomes should help consumers boost spending and increase economic growth.

Even with the gains, the job market faces a long way back to full health. The nation has about 5.6 million fewer jobs than it did when the recession began in late 2007.

There are still 12.8 million people out of work, though that is the fewest since the recession ended. An additional 11 million are either working part-time but would prefer full-time work, or have stopped searching for jobs.

When all those groups are combined, nearly 24 million are considered "underemployed. The so-called "underemployment" rate ticked down in January to 15.1 percent, from 15.2 percent.

Several reports signaled this week that the economy is improving gradually. Manufacturers expanded at the fastest pace in seven months in January, a private survey showed.

And fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said. The four-week average of applications fell to its second-lowest level since June 2008. The drop shows that companies are cutting fewer jobs, which usually leads to more hiring.

Americans spent more at big chain retail stores last month compared with a year earlier. And automakers began 2012 with a strong sales gain in January. Healthier auto sales can boost a range of companies, from steel makers to parts suppliers to shippers.

The economy expanded at a 2.8 percent annual pace in the October-December quarter, a full percentage point higher than in the previous quarter.

Even so, economists expect slower growth this year. Much of the fourth quarter's expansion was due to companies ordering more goods to restock their warehouses. Restocking is likely to slow in the first three months of this year. That would drag on growth.

Europe's financial crisis could also slow demand for U.S. goods. And average wages failed to keep up with inflation last year. That leaves consumers with less spending power, which can hamper growth.

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Sue

I suppose slimebama will take credit for this, too.

February 13 2012 at 6:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Well its good to be in Colorado where the real conservatives are! Looks like we know a libtard when we see one. Poor lib media just couln't sell us their hand picked loser romney. Now all we need is Mr Cain for VP, Newt for Chief of staff, and R. Paul for treasury sec! Time to clean ALL the libs OUT of the fed govt!

February 08 2012 at 10:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Same OLD, tired, libtard, LIE! Always with the single digit growth. Real inflation is over 15% and rising. This means we spent more to get LESS! That’s called CONTRACTION to all non kool aid libtards! GOT GOLD?

February 07 2012 at 12:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ha6ai

Bogus number. Millions have dropped out of the labor market ("discouraged workers") and those who used up their unemployment insurance benefits. The part-time and terribly underemployed are counted by the government as "employed".

Those actual numbers are 15.1% ("U-6"), and 22.5% ("SGS")

The "U-6" unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

The "SGS" ("Shadow Government Statistics" - shadowstats.com) alternate unemployment rate includes long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official government existence in 1994.

Obama gave away over $1 Trillion to his political supporters while doing nothing to increase employment. (He claims he "saved" jobs! LOL!)

February 05 2012 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dus48

it is amazing that we are let to beleive that the economy is on the rebound.its not like the unemplyoment has dropped significantly.the media is so bias.this was exactly what happened in 2008 elections.they simply do not want to hear or discuss facts.people are not stupid.they will make up their own minds no matter what.

February 05 2012 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to dus48's comment
bggdg

Unemployment HAS dropped fairly signifricantly if you just look at the last 6 months. The problem is that it's dropped significantly after it had risen significantly.

Stemming the tide of government attacks is beginning to produce predictable results. We should have at least another year of gridlock in store, so look for more gains in 2012

February 05 2012 at 1:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bggdg's comment
Mike

WOOF!

February 05 2012 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
gopispoison666

Facts? How about the facts that bush and dick were mass murdering garbage? If we discussed facts, half the GOP would be behind bars now.

February 05 2012 at 3:25 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
bggdg

After weathering the vicous onslaught of the job-killing "stimulus", gridlock is finally beginning to produce predictable results. Just imagine the economic gtowth that could be unleashed if government were to actually shrink, instead of merely mitigrating the hubris caused by its obscene growth!

February 05 2012 at 10:30 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bggdg's comment
bggdg

However, it is important to keep in mind that even though the tide has been stemmed, the mouth-breathing goons are far from defeated.

In fact, flanked by their bleating herd of useful idiots, the goons have already announced their next assault on American citizens. Scheduled to beginning in 2013, and escalating into a full-blown "shock and awe" frontal attack in 2014, plans are underway to pummel the American economy with Operation ObamaCare.

As more and more of the fruits of American labor are forcibly misallocated to the already grotesquely obese health care sector of the economy, less and less will be available for more mundance expenditures like feeding, clothing and sheltering one's family. As a result, goons intend to enrich themselves further by impoverishing citizens further.

And of course, the useful idiots will bleat obedience to their attackers.

So be happy about the progress made defending against the last assault.......but viligantly prepare for the next onslaught!

February 05 2012 at 12:32 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
n1yearocrapleft

MORE LIE'S FROM THE MUSLIM CLOWN CAMP,SOON THEY WILL LIE N SAY UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS AT PRESIDENT BUSH'S RATE 4.9~~~MUSLIM CLOWNS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS 16.5 FOR THE LAST 3 YEARS N WILL STAY THAT WAY UNTILL THIS MUSLIM CLOWN IS REMOVED FROM OUR WHITE HOUSE IN HANDCUFFS N THATS COMIN SOON. ! ! ! !

February 05 2012 at 12:59 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
ha6ai

Bogus numbers. The Obama disaster continues.

February 04 2012 at 11:44 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
democracks0

EVANS NEW SCREEN NAME: MISERABLEOLDDOPE.LMAO

PRICELESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 04 2012 at 10:43 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Same OLD, tired, libtard, LIE! Always with the single digit growth. Real inflation is over 15% and rising. This means we spent more to get LESS! That’s called CONTRACTION to all non kool aid libtards! GOT GOLD?

February 04 2012 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply