The Department of Labor released the January 2012 Employment Situation Summary and there is a beacon of hope contained within the report. The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent, which is good, but the private sector added 257,000 new jobs during the month. In my opinion, this is the beacon of hope as in December 2011 only 212,000 new private sector jobs were created.


According to the report, there are now 12.8 million unemployed workers in the nation. Unfortunately 42.9 percent of the unemployed, or about 5.5 million, have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. This number remained relatively unchanged over the month.


The discouraged worker figure has also remained at a steady level since last year. At this time there are about 1.1 million discouraged workers in the nation, individuals that are out of work, want a job but have given up hope of finding one.


Accounting and bookkeeping jobs increased by 13,000 during the month, perhaps partially due to the fact that it is income tax season for millions of Americans. Although tax day isn’t until April 17 this year, businesses and personal taxpayers are already preparing to file their 2011 taxes, placing an increasing demand on professional tax service providers.


The increase in account and bookkeeping jobs was part of an overall increase of 70,000 jobs in the professional and business services sector. Other sectors seeing five-digit gains during the month include:


  • Manufacturing – 50,000 new jobs
  • Leisure and hospitality – 44,000 new jobs
  • Health care – 31,000 new jobs
  • Wholesale trade – 14,000 new jobs

I’m curious to see how the Presidential race talking points change as the unemployment rate under President Obama continues to tick downward.

January 2012 unemployment rate drops to 8.3%
The private sector added 257,000 new jobs in January.