Associated Press: Unemployment Falls to 9.0 pct, Only 36k New Jobs
The unemployment rate dropped sharply last month to 9 percent, based on a government survey that found that more than a half-million people found work.
A separate survey of company payrolls showed a scant increase of 36,000 net jobs as snowstorms likely hampered hiring. That survey doesn’t count the self-employed.
Harsh snowstorms last month cut into construction employment, which fell by 32,000, the most since May. Transportation and warehousing was also likely affected and fell by 38,000 — the most in a year.
“The thumbprints of the weather were all over this report,” said Neil Dutta, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Hiring was suppressed last month and will likely rebound in February, he said.
In one bright spot, manufacturing added 49,000 jobs, the most since August 1998. And retailers added 28,000 jobs, the largest number in a year.
The unemployment rate has fallen by eight-tenths of a percentage point in the past two months. That’s the steepest two-month drop in nearly 53 years.
But part of that drop has occurred as many of those out of work gave up on their job searches. When unemployed people stop looking for jobs, the government no longer counts them as unemployed.
These numbers just reek of skew and spin to me. I’m no expert, but I would imagine that the last paragraph up there is the most accurate. How the unemployment rate could drop from 9.4 to 9.0 percent with the addition of only 36,000 new jobs is beyond me. My guess is that many of the people on the unemployment rolls either stopped looking, as the last paragraph suggests, or reached the 99-week limit and could no longer receive benefits and be counted in the percentage.
This administration has a habit of releasing skewed numbers, remember, most notably the GDP numbers which always seemed to be modified downward in subsequent months as less people paid attention.
CNBC’s Rick Santelli agrees … the numbers are off: