Job numbers in January jumped-up a sizable 467,000 new positions according to the latest Labor Department figures. (This is 3-times above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics). However, the non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment increased to 7.1 percent in January, in keeping with seasonal weather trends. [The new figure is up 2.1 basis points vs. December ’21 level; while being down by 2.3 points from the pandemic/shutdown induced 9.4% figure of last January 2021]. Generally, construction employment figures stayed relatively steady over the month leaving them still below their February 2020 levels.
However, the overall unemployment figure moved-up slightly by (0.1) to 4.0 percent. (“Unemployed persons” also increased to 6.5 million per the government count). The “labor force participation rate” improved going up 0.3 point to 62.2 percent. [NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” works inversely to the overall unemployment figures. Meaning: as it deteriorates/gets worse or smaller, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” experienced an upward movement of 0.4 to 59.7 percent. Average hourly earnings for employees again moved-up to $26.92, confirming a stabilizing of hourly wages at a higher norm in the post pandemic era, due to a shortage of willing workers at this time.
FOOTNOTE ADDED 2/09/22:
The large number of new hires reported for January 2022 of 467,000 does not portend well for economy as the Administration’s “rosy of a picture” would like it to suggest. Embedded in the overall number is the unfortunate realty that “private sector” employment was DOWN some 300,000 in the month over month Dec. 2021 – January 2022. (In fact, this one-month drop is the largest decline in “private” employment during the recovery from COVID-19 disruptions).
What offset this massive private sector decrease in jobs, was a more astounding one month (Dec. ’21 – Jan. ’22), INCREASE in public/government jobs (federal, state, and local) of 768,000! This massive increase is almost unprecedented (first since the ramp-up in mid-summer 2020, as part of the CARES Act to address the steep cratering of the economy as part of the COVID pandemic fallout -- which was a one-off until last month).
Given the shift to creating public jobs (dependent on taxing the economy), and away from private sector jobs that would signal a healthy growing economy -- it is not hard to see why the overall mood is not positive.
SEE Workforce Statistics Chart