According to data from the Wall Street Journal, the United States unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest since April 2009, which may be indicative of a gradually improving market. Although the unemployment rate has fallen for two straight months, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made a statement Thursday stating that it is likely to take several years for the jobless rate to come down. As mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, the unemployment problem will not be officially recovered until job creation periods are sustained. CNN correspondence with economists has reported that the labor market would typically need gains of at least 300,000 jobs each month to make a notable difference in the jobless rate. Alternatively, at least 150,o00 jobs per month would be needed to keep up with population growth.
Economists surveyed by CNN Money reportedly expected at least 149,000 jobs to be created and unemployment to rise to 9.5%. Instead, a mere 36,000 jobs were added to the market in January and the unemployment rate fell from 9.4% in December to 9%. Some industries, like manufacturing and retail, reported gains during this time. Other industries like construction, warehousing, and transportation, reported declines. This may be due in part to fierce January winter storms striking the Midwest, New England, and Southern regions of the United States.
Along with this jobless rate decline, the Labor Department has revised some of their 2010 estimates. Among the estimates revised were that of payroll and jobs added. CNN reports that eight months were revised downward and four months were revised upward. Overall, there were 215,000 fewer jobs in 2010 than were previously reported. The winter weather storms were cited as a possible contributor, as many individuals seeking jobs and those that were currently employed were faced with difficult travel conditions.