The first unemployment report of 2013 is in and the news continues to be mediocre.  The economy added 157,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs during the month and the January 2013 unemployment rate ticked up, slightly, to 7.9 percent.  The December 2012 unemployment rate was 7.8 percent and while the change was nominal, the nation is still hovering near the 8.0 percent unemployment rate.  

To put this into perspective, the unemployment rate in December 2007 was only 5.0 percent.  I chose this month for comparison because the Great Recession officially began in December 2007.  A year later, in December 2008, the unemployment rate was 7.3 percent, still lower than the post-recession unemployment rate we are seeing today.

Since I’m an optimist by nature, I try to find the good in everything.  In the case of the unemployment rate, the United States has experienced five consecutive months with a sub 8.0 percent unemployment rate.  Looking back at 2011 and 2012, the unemployment rate was between 8.0 and 8.9 percent for 11 months before dropping under 8.0 percent.  Perhaps we’ll see a sub 7.0 percent unemployment rate later this year.

In addition to the five consecutive months of sub 8.0 percent unemployment, today’s report was good news for the 157,000 people that landed a new job last month.  A new job is definitely a great way to start off the new year.

Jobs were added in the following industries:

  • Retail trade: +33,000 jobs
  • Construction: +28,000 jobs
  • Health care: +23,000 jobs
  • Wholesale trade: +15,000 jobs
Today’s report also included revisions to figures from November and December 2012.  The original November 2012 unemployment report showed job growth of 161,000 positions but this was revised upward to 247,000 new positions.  An upward revision for December was also made; the original figure of 155,000 new jobs has been changed to 196,000 new jobs.

If you’re one of the millions of unemployed Americans still looking for a job and you have the ability to relocate, I’d suggest researching Austin, Texas.  The city was recently named the best city in the nation for job seekers.  In fact, five of the top ten cities on the list were in Texas.  

January 2013 unemployment rate is 7.9%
The economy added 157,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs during the month.