January Hiring Surge Drives Unemployment Rate Down to 8.3%

U.S. employers added 243,000 jobs in January as hiring (finally) gains steam.

january-hiring-surge-drives-unemployment-downJob seekers and businesses are breathing a sigh of relief over the employment figures released by the Labor Department in the January jobs report.

According Labor Department estimates, the economy added 243,000 jobs during the month of January – the largest job gain in nine months. As a result of January’s unexpected hiring surge, the U.S. unemployment rate currently stands at 8.3%, which is the lowest jobless rate since 2009.

Although January job gains are significant, the bigger story may be at the trend level. In January, the unemployment rate dropped for the fifth consecutive month, possibly indicating a shift in the nation’s employment landscape.

Likewise, the economy has added an average of 201,000 jobs for each of the past five months – 50,000 more jobs per month than during the previous 12-month cycle.

The Labor Department has also issued annual revisions to jobs data for the past five years, revealing that hiring was stronger over the past two years than previously thought. Revised data shows that the economy added about 1.82 million jobs last year, nearly twice as many as in 2010.

Despite the positive signs contained in the January jobs report, it’s important for job seekers and employers to understand that the U.S. is still in recovery mode. Presently, the economy has 5.6 million fewer jobs than it did prior to the recession in 2007.

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