The U.S jobs report was released today and the news was, at best, mediocre. The unemployment rate inched up slightly to 7.9% in January. 166,000 jobs were created in the private sector, while the government shed approximately 9,000 jobs leaving the total number at 157,000 jobs created. According to economist Dean Baker, it is estimated that the cut in government jobs have cost the U.S economy more than 1 million jobs. According to the BLS, under President Obama the government has shed 719,000 jobs. Regardless of these losses, the U.S has had 28 consecutive months of job growth. Some months have been stronger than others, but the economy is still slowly moving along. Alan Kreuger, President Obama’s chief executive advisor, said
“While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the US economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we pursue the policies needed to build an economy that works for the middle class as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”
Adult men and women unemployment rates are 7.3 percent. Teen unemployment remains extremely high at 23.4 percent. African-American unemployment rate is at 13.8 percent. The total number of individuals looking for jobs, but can’t find one are at 12.3 million.
-Retail trade added 32,000 jobs
-Construction added 28,000 jobs
-Healthcare added 22,000 jobs
-Restaurant added 17,000 jobs
-Manufacturing added 4,000 jobs (averaging 6,000 jobs a month since October)
Despite the slow growth of the economy the numbers have been greater than what was expected by many economists. For example, last year the U.S averaged 181,000 new jobs a month; far greater than the 152,000 jobs reportedly created. The BLS also revised the job numbers in November from 161,000 to 242,000 and December from 155,000 to 196,000. However, with the sequestration on the horizon many economists are warning that the automatic cuts to the budget will severely impact job growth. Sequestration will cut defense by 7.3 percent and discretionary spending by 5 percent. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that these cuts would impact 689,000 jobs in 2013 and slow down U.S. GDP growth by .6 percentage points. The cuts will take place March first unless Congress takes the initiative to divert them.