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Economic News Release

Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that the
data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

                          Statement of
                      William J. Wiatrowski
                       Acting Commissioner
                   Bureau of Labor Statistics

                    Friday, February 3, 2017

      Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in January, and 
the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.8 percent. Job 
gains occurred in retail trade, construction, and financial 
activities. In 2016, job gains averaged 187,000 per month.
      Incorporating revisions for November and December, which 
decreased nonfarm payroll employment by 39,000 on net, monthly 
job gains have averaged 183,000 over the past 3 months.
      Retail trade employment rose by 46,000 in January and by 
229,000 over the year. Three industries added jobs in January--
clothing and clothing accessories stores (+18,000), electronics 
and appliance stores (+8,000), and furniture and home furnishing 
stores (+6,000).
      Construction employment rose by 36,000 in January. 
Employment increased in residential building (+9,000) and 
continued to trend up among residential specialty trade 
contractors (+11,000). These residential components have 
accounted for three-fourths of the 170,000 jobs gained in 
construction over the past 12 months. 
      Financial activities added 32,000 jobs in January. The 
industry added an average of 15,000 jobs per month in 2016. Over 
the month, gains occurred in real estate (+10,000), insurance 
(+9,000), and credit intermediation (+9,000). 
      Employment growth continued in professional and technical 
services (+23,000), in line with the average monthly gain over 
the prior year. In January, computer systems design added 13,000 
      Employment in food services and drinking places continued 
to trend up in January (+30,000). The industry has added 286,000 
jobs in the past 12 months.
      Health care employment also continued to trend up in 
January (+18,000), following a gain of 41,000 in December. Over 
the past 12 months, health care has added 374,000 jobs.
      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls rose by 3 cents in January, following a gain of 6 cents 
in December. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings 
have risen by 2.5 percent. From December 2015 to December 2016, 
the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) 
increased by 2.1 percent (on a seasonally adjusted basis).
      Turning to measures from the survey of households, both the 
unemployment rate, at 4.8 percent, and the number of unemployed 
people, at 7.6 million, remained little changed in January. 
There were 1.9 million unemployed people who had been looking 
for work for 27 weeks or more, representing 24.4 percent of the 
      The labor force participation rate rose to 62.9 percent in 
January, and the employment-population ratio edged up to 59.9 
percent. Both measures held fairly steady in 2016.
      In January, there were 5.8 million people working part time 
for economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time 
workers), little changed over the month. 
      Among those neither working nor looking for work in 
January, 1.8 million were marginally attached to the labor 
force, down by 337,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers, 
a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs 
were available for them, numbered 532,000 in January, little 
changed from a year earlier. (People who are marginally attached 
to the labor force had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior 
to the survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had 
looked for a job within the last 12 months.)
      Following our usual practice, there were routine annual 
adjustments to the data from our two surveys. The establishment 
survey data released today reflect the incorporation of annual 
benchmark revisions. Each year, we re-anchor our sample-based 
survey estimates to full universe counts of employment, 
primarily derived from the Quarterly Census of Employment and 
Wages, which enumerates jobs covered by the unemployment 
insurance tax system. The effect of these revisions on the 
underlying trend in nonfarm payroll employment was minor. 
(Additional information about the benchmark revision and its 
impact is contained in our news release and on our website at
      Household survey data for January reflect updated 
population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Again this 
year, the impact of the new population controls on the 
unemployment rate and other ratios was negligible. (Further 
information can be found in our news release and on our website 
      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in 
January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.8 

Last Modified Date: February 03, 2017