Washington: US employers added just 49,000 jobs in January, after slashing some 227,000 jobs the previous month, the Labour Department reported.
In a report issued on Friday, the Department said that the unemployment rate, meanwhile, fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 per cent in January, still well above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 per cent in February 2020, reports Xinhua news agency.
In January, job gains in professional and business services and in both public and private education were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, health care, transportation and warehousing, the report showed.
The number of permanent job losers stood at 3.5 million, changing little in January, but 2.2 million higher than in February, according to the report.
Amid widespread Covid-19 shutdowns in March and April 2020, 22 million Americans lost their jobs.
Despite the improvement, the US labour market’s recovery has been stalled in recent months amid surging Covid-19 cases.
The latest data showed that the number of unemployed persons in January decreased to 10.1 million, which is about 4.4 million higher than the pre-pandemic level in February 2020.
“The labour market’s recovery is only stumbling along,” Sarah House, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote in an analysis, noting that the job growth in January only partially reversed previous month’s decline.
In an analysis published on Friday, Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) senior fellow Jason Furman and Harvard Kennedy School research associate Wilson Powell argued that the newly released official unemployment rate understates the level of joblessness by 2 per cent.
Furman and Powell calculated that the “realistic unemployment rate” was 8.3 per cent in January, taking into account workers who reported being “not at work for other reasons” and the unusually large decline in labour force participation.
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