Labor Market Shows Signs of Reawakening in New Data
The American unemployment rate dipped from 10 percent to 9.7 percent in January, the Labor Department reported Friday, buoying hopes that the worst job market in at least a quarter-century is finally improving.
The economy shed another 20,000 net jobs during the course of the month, underscoring the considerable strains remaining in millions of American households. Yet that marked a continued decline in the pace of deterioration. Economists focused on a host of encouraging signs that suggested recovery following the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Manufacturing added 11,000 jobs in January, the first monthly increase since November 2007, while factories saw a modest increased in the length of the workweek. Temporary workers grew by 52,000, and the overall American workweek lengthened, reinforcing the view that commercial activity is awakening after more than two years of veritable hibernation.
“It does signal that the economy is continuing to improve,” said John E. Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C. “You don’t have a boom, but you have an economic recovery. It’s a positive sign.”