NATNews Blog > February 2017 > Retail trade, construction, financial sector boost employment numbers

    Retail trade, construction, financial sector boost employment numbers

    2/3/2017 9:00:04 AM
    Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 227,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Feb. 3. Job gains occurred in retail trade, construction and financial activities.
     
    Establishment survey data have been revised as a result of the annual benchmarking process and the updating of seasonal adjustment factors using an improved methodology to select models. Also, household survey data for January 2017 reflect updated population estimates. See the notes at the end of this news release for more information about these changes.
     
    Household Survey Data
     
    Both the number of unemployed persons, at 7.6 million, and the unemployment rate, at 4.8 percent, were little changed in January. (See table A-1. For information about annual population adjustments to the household survey estimates, see the notes at the end of this news release and tables B and C.)
     
    Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Asians (3.7 percent) increased in January. The jobless rates for adult men (4.4 percent), adult women (4.4 percent), teenagers (15.0 percent), Whites (4.3 percent), Blacks (7.7 percent), and Hispanics (5.9 percent) showed little or no change over the month.
     
    In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.9 million and accounted for 24.4 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 244,000.
     
    After accounting for the annual adjustments to the population controls, the civilian labor force increased by 584,000 in January, and the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9 percent. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, was up by 457,000 over the month, and the employment-population ratio edged up to 59.9 percent.
     
    The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in January at 5.8 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.

    In January, 1.8 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 337,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
     
    Among the marginally attached, there were 532,000 discouraged workers in January, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in January had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
     
    Establishment Survey Data
    Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in January. Employment increased in retail trade, construction, and financial activities.
     
    • Retail trade employment increased by 46,000 over the month and by 229,000 over the year. Three industries added jobs in January – clothing and clothing accessories stores (+18,000), electronics and appliance stores (+8,000), and furniture and home furnishings stores (+6,000).
     
    • Employment in construction rose by 36,000 in January, following little change in December. Residential building added 9,000 jobs over the month, and employment continued to trend up among residential specialty trade contractors (+11,000). Over the past 12 months, construction has added 170,000 jobs.
     
    • Financial activities added 32,000 jobs in January, with gains in real estate (+10,000), insurance carriers and related activities (+9,000), and credit intermediation and related activities (+9,000). Financial activities added an average of 15,000 jobs per month in 2016.
     
    • In January, employment in professional and technical services rose by 23,000, about in line with the average monthly gain in 2016. Over the month, job gains occurred in computer systems design and related services (+13,000).
     
    • Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in January (+30,000). This industry added 286,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
     
    • Employment in health care also continued to trend up in January (+18,000), following a gain of 41,000 in December. The industry has added 374,000 jobs over the past 12 months.
     
    • Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little change over the month.
     
    The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in January. In manufacturing, the workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, while overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 33.6 hours for the sixth consecutive month.
     
    In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $26.00, following a 6-cent increase in December. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. In January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $21.84.
     
    The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised down from +204,000 to +164,000, and the change for December was revised up from +156,000 to +157,000. With these revisions, employment gains in November and December combined were 39,000 lower than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual benchmark process also contributed to the November and December revisions. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 183,000 per month.
     
    The Employment Situation for February is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 10, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).