New Jobs Report Brings Mixed News

By Toni Vranjes

February 5, 2010

Unemployment dropped last month, although jobs continued to vanish, the government reported today.

The jobless rate was 9.7 percent in January, down from 10 percent the previous month. However, payrolls declined by 20,000, the Labor Department reported.

In January, the nation lost 75,000 construction jobs, and employment in the transportation and warehousing sector fell by 19,000.

Meanwhile, employment rose in temporary help services, retail trade, and health care. Also, the federal government created 33,000 jobs, including 9,000 temporary Census positions.

The report contains “encouraging signs of gradual labor market healing,” according to Christina Romer, chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. But unemployment is still a huge problem, she notes.

“Even as today’s numbers contain signs of the beginning of recovery, they are also a reminder of how far we still have to go to return the economy to robust health and full employment,” Romer wrote in a blog post.

“Indeed, with the benchmark revision announced today, we now know that the total job loss over the recession was more than 1 million larger than previously estimated.”

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