US Economy Adds 49,000 Jobs in January, Signs of Labor Market Instability

The US Department of Labor released a report this morning finding that only 49,000 jobs were added to the US Market in January.

The report found that the national unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percent in January, continuing to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on US citizens in the job market. Gains in professional and business services were largely offset by losses in retail, hospitality, health care, and transportation/warehousing.

Jobless rates as a whole fell for all major adult working groups, while the jobless rate for teens remained largely the same. 

The numbers for those without a job for 5 weeks or less fell to 2.3 million, a small decrease from December 2020 numbers. Long-term unemployed individuals (longer than 5 weeks) have remained largely the same.

The current US economy is down by roughly 9.9 million jobs, or 6.5 percent, from numbers taken in February 2020. 

Overall, the US still has a long way to go before the economy has recovered fully from COVID-19. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that it will take until 2024 for the US economy to reach full employment numbers again.

Economists and employment experts are concerned that these numbers may not even show the full picture, calling into question the number of people who are technically noted as unemployed. 

Economists and policymakers are concerned about families and small businesses, saying that these groups may need further support before moving into the spring season.

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