According to data reported in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s unemployment rate dipped marginally in January to 6.6 percent, down just a bit from December, making it the lowest monthly rate since October 2008. Employment rose in almost every sector, with thousands of jobs added throughout the month.??

ES January 2014

The number of individuals who were long-term unemployed, or without a job for more than 27 weeks, slipped by 232,000. Over the course of the year, the total number declined by 1.1 million. However, the number of people who were employed part-time for economic reasons fell by 514,000. The total number of unemployed individuals was 10.2 million.

Although December did not report a significant increase in the number of individuals looking for nonfarm employment, with only 75,000 employees hired, the BLS stated that January saw a higher number of 113,000. This figure is lower than November’s addition of 274,000 jobs and economists were disappointed for the second month in a row. The number of overall job hires was much lower than what industry experts predicted. Results from a Bloomberg survey indicated that 180,000 jobs would be added in January, but attributed the lower figure of 113,000 to severe winter weather that ravaged much of the country within the last two months.

Industries that experienced the greatest amount of growth within this time period were manufacturing, wholesale trade, construction and mining. Construction added the most jobs, with 48,000 created in January, more than double the 22,000 positions available in December. Residential building and nonresidential specialty trade contractors both added 13,000 opportunities each. The manufacturing sector saw the creation of more than 21,000 jobs, with the BLS adding that approximately 7,000 jobs were added each month of 2013. Wholesale trade offered 14,000 jobs and mining brought 7,000.

The professional and business services sector experienced growth with an addition of 36,000 jobs over the course of the month, although slightly down from the monthly industry average of 55,000 jobs per month in 2013. The majority of industry growth was seen in professional and technical services which added 20,000 jobs in January.

While the majority of employers were looking to hire at the beginning of 2014, there were a few that cut positions in the new year. Jobs in the retail trade dipped partially, with book, music and sporting goods stores losing around 22,000 positions. However, motor vehicle and auto parts retailers added 7,000 employees. Federal government employment was also down, with 9,000 of the 12,000 jobs lost coming from the U.S. Postal Service.

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