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U.S. Unemployment Ticks Up To 7.9 Percent, White House Blames Congress


The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

January nonfarm payrolls came in at approximately 157,000, missing expectations of a print of 165,000, pushing unemployment to 7.9 percent.

“In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.7 million and accounted for 38.1 percent of the unemployed,” the report reads.

“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 8.0 million, changed little in January. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job,” the report adds.

Here's unemployment broken up by group:

  • Men: 7.3 percent
  • Adult women: 7.3 percent
  • Teenagers: 23.4 percent
  • Whites: 7.0 percent
  • Blacks: 13.8 percent
  • Hispanics: 9.7 percent
  • Asians: 6.5 percent (not seasonally adjusted)

Oddly enough, U.S. stocks rose after the report was released:

"The seasonal adjustment for January was in line with expectations, or 2.120 million, as the actual decline in jobs December to January was a whopping 2.84 million," Zero Hedge notes. "The NSA Birth/Death adjustment subtracted some 314K jobs in January."

The labor force participation rate stay at about the same:

Courtesy Zero Hedge

For its part, the White House blames Congress.

"Today’s report is a reminder of the importance of the need for Congress to act to avoid self-inflicted wounds to the economy," Alan B. Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement

"The Administration continues to urge Congress to move toward a sustainable Federal budget in a responsible way that balances revenue and spending, and replaces the sequester, while making critical investments in the economy that promote growth and job creation and protect our most vulnerable citizens," the statement adds.

And, of course, as always, the White House cautions that we shouldn't read too much into the report.

"[M]onthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision," Krueger writes.

"Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available," he adds.

Final Thought: ​Hey, at least the economy added 157,000 jobs in January. Who needs a jobs council anyway?

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image courtesy Getty Images

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