WASHINGTON, DC-The Labor Department reported the US economy added 157,000 jobs in January. The unemployment rate also rose to 7.9%. The news, in short, was a mixed bag for the U.S.—the numbers provided some relief that the economy had not reversed its recovery after the latest GDP figures. Also, the Labor Department revised upwardly the job numbers for October, November and December. On the other hand, the number of jobs created was below analyst expectations.
That, however, did not dismay Doug Duncan, chief economist with Fannie Mae, who called the recent trend healthier than previously reported. With the revision, which, he noted was done partly because of an annual benchmark revision, added a total of 335,000 jobs in 2012.
“As a result, the average monthly gain in the fourth quarter of 2012 was roughly 200,000 for total payrolls and 225,000 for private payrolls,” he says.
For the construction industry was good as well. The construction industry is contributing substantially to economic and employment growth, the Associated General Contractors of America noted in its assessment of the data, pointing to the fact that construction employment rose for the eighth consecutive month in January, while construction spending in December increased for the ninth month in a row. Both totals were the highest levels in more than three years, it said.
“The new employment data show the industry lost even more jobs in the recession than previously estimated but has added almost 300,000 jobs in the past two years, including nearly 100,000 since September,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist in a prepared statement. “Meanwhile, the steady rise in construction spending since last March suggests contractors will be hiring even more workers in the months ahead.”