Yay! Unemployment Falls To 9.7 Percent In January

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The unemployment rate fell from 10.0 percent to 9.7 percent in January while the economy shed just 20,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Temporary help and retail continued to add jobs; a good sign for the economy. Temporary help, in fact, added 52,000 jobs. Employers hire temps when business is picking up but before they feel confident enough to hire a full time person. Temporary growth usually precedes permanent growth by 4-5 months.

However, the number of long-term unemployed (those out of work for 27 weeks or more) reached 6.3 million last month.

We’re not out of the weeds yet, but these numbers beat analysts’ estimates by a good stretch.