Monthly jobs reports featuring mixed results are becoming a trend and January 2012 was no different. The African-American unemployment rate declined significantly to 13.6 percent from 15.8 percent in December. The overall unemployment rate also fell from 8.5 percent to 8.3 percent.
In other good news, employers added 243,000 jobs, which was substantially more than the 170,000 projected by Automatic Data Processing, Inc. And, according to a report from the Labor Department, the four-week average of unemployment claims fell to 375,750, the lowest since June 2008.
“Over the last 22 months, we’ve had consecutive private sector job growth — over three million jobs created. It’s another indication that private sector job growth is going well, but we’ll probably see public-sector jobs retreat in the wrong direction,” said Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pennsylvania).
The government did in fact shed 14,000 jobs in January. The private sector gains included 70,000 professional and business services jobs, 50,000 manufacturing jobs and 44,000 leisure and hospitality jobs. The health care and social assistance industry added 29,700, while the construction sector added 21,000.
"Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the recession that began at the end of 2007," said Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. "Most importantly, we need to extend the payroll tax cut and continue to provide emergency unemployment benefits through the end of this year, and take the additional steps that President Obama proposed in his State of the Union address to create an economy built to last."
The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday projected that the national jobless rate would rise to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012 and to 9.2 percent in 2013, and that the deficit will go up to $1.08 trillion this year. Such a dismal forecast could dampen President Obama’s re-election effort.
“The projection is why it’s so important that we pass the remaining parts of the president’s jobs bill,” Fattah said. “We can cut into that [high unemployment figure], but have to take aggressive action.”
That won't be easy. Despite the positive jobs report, Republicans continued to have a pessimistic take on Obama's policy agenda.
“While any sign of job creation is positive, the economy is still in need of relief from those failed policies which have weighed down economic opportunities by drastically increasing the burden of debt, growing the size of government, and threatening more taxes on job creators and American families,” said Georgia Rep. Tom Price, who chairs the House Republican Policy Committee.
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