The bureau revised its previously reported results for December from 75,000 to 84,000, and in January from 113,000 to 129,000. That brought the three-month average to 129,000. At that rate, it would take until September 2023 to return us to the pre-recession employment situation while absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month. At 175,000 a month, it would take until January 2020.
In the previous three years (2011-2013), seasonally adjusted job growth for the December-January period averaged a monthly 103,000, 261,000 and 230,000 respectively.
A consensus of experts surveyed ahead of time by Bloomberg News had put the expected growth in new jobs for February at 150,000. Growth in the overall economy picked up in the second half of 2013, but it has slipped in the past three months:
The recent stretch of mixed economic data, including weak retail sales and a drop in factory output, has been blamed in part on harsh winter weather. The weather may have distorted Friday's reading on jobs, too. Last month's household survey, one component of the jobs report, coincided with a mid-February storm that brought ice and snow to much of the eastern U.S.The civilian labor force added 264,000. That rise came after a 499,000 rise in January and a 347,000 drop in December. The employment-population ratio held steady at 58.8 percent, as did the labor force participation rate at 63 percent.
It's far from clear if weather is the primary culprit or if the U.S. economy is slowing down in earnest. "A number of data releases have pointed to softer spending than analysts had expected," Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen told lawmakers last week. "That may reflect in part adverse weather conditions, but at this point it is difficult to discern exactly how much."
The number of long-term unemployed, those out of work for 27 weeks or more, rose to 3.8 million, 37 percent of all those unemployed.
The bureau provides several alternative calculations each month. Of those, U6 is the most focused upon. It includes not just Americans without a job, but also those with part-time jobs who want full-time positions (the underemployed) and workers who have looked for employment in the past 12 months but not in the past four weeks. U6 fell to 12.6 percent in February. U6 does not include workers who have given up looking for a job for more 12 months. They are left out of the unemployment count even if they still want jobs, skewing the actual unemployment rate, both U3 and U6.
The number of officially unemployed Americans is rose to 10.5 million. Plus the millions of discouraged workers who are left out of that count because they have left the workforce.
The Economic Policy Institute notes:
In today’s labor market, the unemployment rate drastically understates the weakness of job opportunities. This is due to the existence of a large pool of “missing workers”—potential workers who, because of weak job opportunities, are neither employed nor actively seeking a job. In other words, these are people who would be either working or looking for work if job opportunities were significantly stronger. Because jobless workers are only counted as unemployed if they are actively seeking work, these “missing workers” are not reflected in the unemployment rate.Currently, EPI says, there are 5.8 million "missing workers." If they were looking for work, the unemployment rate would be 10 percent instead of 6.7 percent. About two-thirds of those missing workers are in their prime earning years, 25-54.
The payroll services company Automatic Data Processing had reported on Wednesday a seasonally adjusted gain of xxx,000 private-sector jobs for February. ADP does not report on public-sector jobs and its estimated growth figures, despite a change in methodology in 2012, frequently aren't a close match with the BLS private-job figures.
Among other news in the January job report:
Demographic breakdown of official (U3) seasonally adjusted jobless rate:
• African American: 12.0 percent
• Latino: 8.1 percent
• Asian (not seasonally adjusted): 6.0 percent
• American Indian (data not collected on monthly basis)
• White: 5.8 percent
• Adult women (20 and older): 5.9 percent
• Adult Men (20 and older): 6.4 percent
• Teenagers (16-19): 21.4 percent
Duration of unemployment:
• Less than five weeks: 2.4 million
• 5 to 14 weeks: 2.6 million
• 15 to 26 weeks: 1.6 million
• 27 weeks and more: 3.8 million
Job gains and losses in selected categories:
• Professional services: + 79,000
• Transportation and warehousing : - 3,600
• Leisure & hospitality: + 25,000
• Health care: + 14,700
• Retail trade: - 4,100
• Construction: + 15,000
• Manufacturing: + 6,000
• Average weekly manufacturing hours remained at 40.7 hours.
Average work week for all employees on non-farm payrolls slipped to 34.2 hours.
• Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose 9 cents to $24.31.
• Average hourly earnings of private sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose 9 cents to $20.50.
Here's what the seasonally adjusted job growth numbers have looked like in February for the previous 10 years.
February 2004: + 44,000
February 2005: + 239,000
February 2006: + 315,000
February 2007: + 88,000
February 2008: - 86,000
February 2009: - 701,000
February 2010: - 50,000
February 2011: + 168,000
February 2012: + 226,000
February 2013: + 280,000
February 2014: + 175,000
The BLS jobs report is the product of a pair of surveys, one of more than 410,000 business establishments called Current Employment Statistics, and one called the Current Population Survey, which questions 60,000 householders each month. The establishment survey determines how many new jobs were added. It is always calculated on a seasonally adjusted basis determined by a frequently tweaked formula. The BLS report only provides a snapshot of what's happening at a single point in time.
It's important to understand that the jobs-created-last-month-numbers that it reports are not "real." Not because of a conspiracy, but because statisticians apply formulas to the raw data, estimate the number of jobs created by the "birth" and "death" of businesses, and use other filters to fine-tune the numbers. And, always good to remember, in the fine print, they tell us that the actual number of newly created jobs reported is actually plus or minus 100,000.