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Jobless Rate Down in January


February 5 — The U.S. unemployment rate declined by 0.3% in January, although the number of payroll jobs fell, too, as employers opted for added hours and overtime instead of hiring.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the unemployment rate in January at 9.7%, down from 10% in December. The number of jobless persons also declined, to 14.8 million. The number of persons working part time who would have preferred full-time employment dropped from 9.2 to 8.3 million, the lowest number in a year. However, the percentage of those who have been unemployed for at least 27 weeks rose last month.

"In January, job losses continued in construction and in transportation and warehousing," Keith Hall, BLS commissioner told the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, "while employment increased in temporary help services and retail trade."

"With revisions released today, job losses since the start of the recession in December 2007 totaled 8.4 million, substantially more than previously reported," Hall added.

Read the full BLS news release.