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Government, Like Milli Vanilli, Blames It On the Rain

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics announced that the unemployment rate fell to 9% in January. But the economy created only 36,000 non-farm jobs, so we won't be partying like it's 1999 for awhile yet.

Here's a quick snapshot of the BLS report:

The manufacturing, health care and retail sectors gained jobs. The construction, transportation and warehousing sectors lost jobs.

In January, the average hourly earnings of private sector employees increased by 8 cents to $22.86. Average hourly earnings have increased nearly 2% (1.9%) over the last year.

The average workweek for all private sector employees clocked in at 34.2 hours during January. So many people are still not working a full 40 during the week.

Manufacturing employees gained an hour of work per week, while some employees, most notably in the construction field, lost an hour of work per week because of the weather. Blame it on the rain. Or snow.

What will happen next? Will millions of disgruntled U.S. job seekers get back in the game? Will employment in the construction sector pick up as the weather improves? Is this whole post simply an excuse to mention Milli Vanilli? We're left with so many questions.

By the way, the average annual U.S. unemployment rate was 5.3% when Milli Vanilli was rocking the charts in 1989. Sure, our hairstyles were bad and the singers lip synched, but at least the economy had a nice beat we could dance to while driving home from work. And gas averaged 97 cents per gallon.

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