U.S creates few more jobs to improve economy

The U.S. economy added less jobs in January, while the unemployment rate edged down to the lowest level since February 2008, data from the Labor Department showed Friday.

green economy
green economy

The total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000 in January, less than expected. In addition, the Labor Department revised December’s job gains down to 262,000 from its previous estimate of 292,000, but November’s data was revised up to 280,000 from 252,000.

Over the past three months, job gains have averaged at 231,000 per month.

The less-than-expected payroll gains were due to the job losses in transportation and warehousing, and mining sectors, suggesting that strong dollar and falling energy prices continue to constrain these sectors.

The unemployment rate edged down to 4.9 percent, the lowest level since February 2008 and close to the full employment level. The number of long-term unemployed, or those jobless for 27 weeks or more, held at 2.1 million in January, accounting for 26.9 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate, the share of the working-age population employed or looking for a job, stayed at 62.7 percent.

Average hourly earnings rose by 12 cents to 25.39 U.S. dollars in January. The figure has risen by 2.5 percent during 2015, the fastest pace since July 2009. Economists expected wage growth to accelerate as the labor market tightens.

Recent economic indicators showed the U.S. economy is expanding at a slower pace partly because of the strong U.S. dollar, low oil prices and weak global growth.

Friday’s job report shows that the labor market may be slowing so far this year but will continue to approach full employment, a factor that offers support for further Federal Reserve rate hikes.

The Fed decided to raise benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points in December last year, the first interest rate increase since 2006 that marked the end of an era of extraordinary easing monetary policy.

The central bank held off rate hike in its policy meeting in January, signalling its concern over the strength of the U.S. economy in the face of global uncertainty and low energy prices.

Fed governor Lael Brainard recently told local media that the slowing global growth could spill over to the United States, weakening the United States’ trade and inflation level and triggering financial volatility.

She said recent developments have reinforced the case and calls for watchful waiting. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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