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U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls To 8.3%

Break out the cheap box wine, because the U.S. unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in three long, long, long years!

U.S. employers added 243,000 jobs in January. What can one say except how awesome this news is, even though 12.8 million Americans (official number, cough) remain unemployed and the number of discouraged workers opting out of the workforce remains about the same as a year ago. Still, today's jobs report offers a huge confidence boost that everyone needs.

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What kinds of jobs were Americans taking in January? Here's a snapshot, courtesy of this morning's official BLS report:

Professional and business services continued to add jobs in January (+70,000). About half of the increase occurred in employment services (+33,000). Job gains also occurred in accounting and bookkeeping (+13,000) and in architectural and engineering services (+7,000).

Over the month, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 44,000, primarily in food services and drinking places (+33,000). Since a recent low in February 2010, food services has added 487,000 jobs.

In January, health care employment continued to grow (+31,000). Within the industry, hospitals and ambulatory care services each added 13,000 jobs.

Wholesale trade employment increased by 14,000 over the month. Since a recent employment low in May 2010, wholesale trade has added 144,000 jobs.

Employment in retail trade continued to trend up in January. Job gains in department stores (+19,000), health and personal care stores (+7,000), and automobile dealers (+7,000) were partially offset by losses in clothing and clothing accessory stores (-14,000). Since an employment trough in December 2009, retail trade has added 390,000 jobs.

In January, employment in information declined by 13,000, including a loss of 8,000 jobs in the motion picture and sound recording industry.

In the goods-producing sector, manufacturing added 50,000 jobs. Nearly all of the increase occurred in durable goods manufacturing, with job growth in fabricated metal products (+11,000), machinery (+11,000), and motor vehicles and parts (+8,000). Durable goods manufacturing has added 418,000 jobs over the past 2 years.

Employment in construction increased by 21,000 in January, following a gain of 31,000 in the previous month. Over the past 2 months, nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 30,000 jobs.

Mining added 10,000 jobs in January, with most of the gain in support activities for mining (+8,000). Since a recent low in October 2009, mining employment has expanded by 172,000.
So, there you have it. If the U.S. jobs scene keeps expanding this way, Mitt Romney will have fewer very poor people not to be concerned about since they might be able to work one better-paying job instead of two or three low-paying part-time jobs. Am I being too mean? Maybe, but his jaw-dropping way of phrasing things sort of deserves it.

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