News / Economy

    January Surge in US Hiring Lowers Unemployment to 8.3 Percent

    Thomas Warren installs a fuel cell on a Freightliner truck at a plant where the laid off workers will be called back to work to meet increasing demand, Cleveland, N.C., January 12, 2012.
    Thomas Warren installs a fuel cell on a Freightliner truck at a plant where the laid off workers will be called back to work to meet increasing demand, Cleveland, N.C., January 12, 2012.

    There's more evidence that the U.S. economy is improving. The U.S. Labor Department says private sector companies added 243,000 jobs in January, pushing the unemployment rate down to 8.3 percent from 8.5 in December. The latest reading lifted the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its highest close since before the 2008 financial crisis, and helped lift investor confidence around the world.

    For job seekers - a welcome ray of hope. The job market is improving and unemployment is at its lowest level in nearly three years.

    "Job growth was widespread in the private sector in January, with the largest gains occurring in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and manufacturing," said John Galvin, acting commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    The number of jobs created last year also was revised higher - up 60,000 in November and December.

    Reaction was immediate on Wall Street. Just five minutes after the opening bell, the Dow Jones average was up more than one percent.

    Economist Stewart Hoffman said the jobless rate has fallen for five consecutive months.

    "So when you get consistent decline in the unemployment rate and three out of the last five months job growth have topped 200,000, I think you're at the self-sustaining sort of reinforcing positive with this number and the revisions," said Hoffman.

    Kicking off a new jobs initiative for military veterans on Friday, President Barack Obama welcomed the strong jobs report, but warned against complacency.  

    "The economy is growing stronger. The recovery is speeding up. And we've got to do everything in our power to keep it going," said the president.

    "It's been 35 months of unemployment above 8 percent," said Republican presidential contender and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

    With Republican presidential hopefuls arguing that the president's economic policies have failed, Yahoo economic editor Daniel Gross said Republicans are likely to push back.

    "The only people disheartened by this report were probably Republican campaign consultants," said Gross.

    That pushback was evident at a joint economic hearing Friday as Republican Congressman Kevin Brady clashed with Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.

    "For 23 months we've been gaining jobs in this country, we should be pleased with this news," said Maloney.

    "Madame Chairman, my only point, I think, ours is, we do think these numbers are encouraging. Our concern is the unemployment rate is going down because people are giving up," said Brady.

    Republicans argue that counting those who have given up looking for work, and those who have been unemployed more than a year, the actual unemployment rate is closer to 15 percent.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9036
    JPY
    USD
    102.32
    GBP
    USD
    0.7297
    CAD
    USD
    1.3005
    INR
    USD
    68.004

    Rates may not be current.