US Jobless Rate Rises to 7.9%

Feb. 1, 2013
Manufacturing employment shows little change.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.9% in January from 7.8% in December and the economy added 157,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday.

After a sweeping revision of 2012 data, the department also said monthly job growth averaged 181,000 last year, well above the prior estimate of 153,000 jobs. From April 2011 to March 2012, the revisions resulted in a gain of 422,000 jobs.

December's jobs gains were revised 26% higher, to 196,000.

In the first month of 2013, employment rose notably in retail trade, construction and health care, while jobs in government, transportation and warehousing slipped.

There was little change in manufacturing employment, which has been essentially flat since July 2012.

The January readings were less positive than expected. The consensus estimate was that the jobless rate ticked down a notch to 7.7% and the U.S. added 180,000 net jobs.

"We expect the U.S. economy will chalk up roughly 2 million jobs by the end of 2013.  This would be similar to 2012, but this time we expect strengthening momentum to be back-loaded in the year," said Beata Caranci, vice president and deputy chief economist at TD Economics. "This corresponds with an unemployment rate hovering at a still-elevated 7.5% at the end of this year, and we don't foresee it returning to the Federal Reserve's 6.5% guidance until 2015."

Copyright 2013 Agence France-Presse

Additional reporting by Steve Minter.

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