The U.S. economy added 157,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This was in-line with the consensus estimate for the month. However, the unemployment rate edged higher from 7.8 percent in December to 7.9 percent in January. BLS included a number of revisions for 2012 to reflect payroll counts and seasonal adjustments. Including these revisions, nonfarm payrolls rose 2.2 million in 2012, or roughly 180,000 per month.
The report clearly illustrates the slow growth in the manufacturing sector since the beginning of 2012. Last month’s estimate of 25,000 workers added in December has now been revised down to just 8,000. In January, the sector added 4,000 net new workers. This reflects the weaknesses that we saw over the second half of the year and manufacturers have lost 7,000 workers since July overall.
In January durable goods industries added 3,000 additional employees on net and nondurables contributed 1,000 jobs. The largest gains were seen among motor vehicle and parts (up 2,500), petroleum and coal products (up 1,500), chemicals (up 1,400), computer and peripheral equipment (up 1,200), and fabricated metal products (up 1,000). These were counteracted by declines in nonmetallic minerals and products (down 1,900), electrical equipment and appliances (down 1,700), machinery (down 1,300), and miscellaneous nondurables (down 1,300), among others.
Average weekly earnings in the manufacturing sector dipped from $980.06 to $976.84 which is consistent with weaker activity. The average number of hours in the workweek also edged slightly lower, from 41.7 to 41.6, with the average overtime hours staying the same at 4.2 hours. (continue reading…)