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Unemployment falls to 6.6%; job growth misses the mark

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The national unemployment rate fell to 6.6% in January, but the jobs report was not looking so good with only 113,000 new jobs added. Economists were expecting at least 180,000.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was some progress in the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more). That number -- 3.6 million -- declined by 232,000 in January and now accounts for 35.8% of the total unemployed, having dropped by 1.1 million over the year.

Additionally, the number of workers employed part time for economic reasons (or involuntary part-time workers) also dropped by 514,000 to 7.3 million in January.

However, the number of "discouraged workers" and those counted as "marginally attached to the work force" was little changed in January.

Of the job gains that were made in January, the construction industry enjoyed the lion's share of them with 48,000 new jobs added. Construction had initially lost 22,000 jobs in December. Residential construction and nonresidential specialty trade contractors were tied within that category in taking home the most jobs, each gaining 13,000. Nonresidential building added 8,000, and heavy and civil engineering added 10,000.

Meanwhile, manufacturing was also one of the relative winners in January, gaining 21,000 jobs.

The retail trade lost 13,000 jobs in January, with losses concentrated in sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores. Building materials and garden supplies dealers lost 1,100 jobs.


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