NFP -20,000, Consensus +15,000, Non-Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate (U3 And U6) Surges To Record 10.6% And 18%

The January NFP number came in at -20,000, a mere 5k away from Goldman's -25,000 estimate. Consensus was for +15,000. December, as all prior months, saw an expected major downward revision to -150,000 from -85,000. The January Birth/Death adjustment was for -427K from +25K in December. Despite a deterioration in every metric, the unemployment rate dropped from 10.% to 9.7%, even with a consensus at 10.0%. A glitch in the excel model is further corroborated when one considers that the civilian labor force participation rate actually rose in January from 64.6 to 64.7.

Yet a number that avoids some of the constant fudging by the BLS, the Non-Seasonally Adjusted number, hit a new recent record: instead of 9.7%, this number was 10.6%, a 0.9% increase from December!

The same can be seen in the U-6 data. NSA U-6 is now at a record 18%, even as the seasonally adjusted number declined to 16.5%.

SA U-6:

And here is the Non Seasonally Adjusted U-6:

Below is the full text of the BLS Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situtation:

     Employment in temporary help services grew by 52,000 over the month.  This industry, which provides workers to other businesses, has added nearly a quarter of a million jobs since its recent low point last September.  Following 2 months of little change, retail trade employment increased by 42,000 in January, with gains in several components.  Health care employment continued to rise in January.  Overall, manufacturing employment was little changed, although motor vehicles and parts added 23,000 jobs.  Since June, the manufacturing workweek for all employees has increased by 1.2 hours.
     Federal government employment rose in January, partly due to hiring for the decennial census.  Employment in state and local governments, excluding education, continued to trend down over the month.
     Average hourly earnings of all employees in the private sector rose by 4 cents in January to $22.45.  Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.0 percent.  From December 2008 to December 2009, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 2.8 percent.
     Turning now to some measures from our household survey, both the number of unemployed persons (14.8 million) and the unemployment rate (9.7 percent) declined in January.  However, the share of those jobless for 27 weeks and over continued to rise.
     The employment-population ratio increased to 58.4 percent over the month.  The number of persons working part time who would have preferred full-time employment dropped from 9.2 to 8.3 million, the lowest level in a year.
     Before closing, I would note that several changes were introduced today to the Employment Situation news release text and tables.  Three new household survey tables provide information on the employment status of veterans, persons with a disability, and the foreign-born population. 

In January, the unemployment rate of veterans from Gulf War era II (September 2001 to the present) was 12.6 percent, compared with 10.4 percent for nonveterans.  Persons with a disability had a higher jobless rate than persons with no disability--15.2 versus 10.4 percent. In addition, 21.8 percent of persons with a disability were in the labor force, compared with 70.1 percent of persons without a disability.  The unemployment rate for the foreign born was 11.8 percent, and the rate
for the native born was 10.3 percent.  (The data in these new tables are not seasonally adjusted.)
     The establishment survey tables have been redesigned to include the addition of data on hours and earnings for all private-sector employees as well as employment information for women.  Women currently make up 49.9 percent of total nonfarm payroll employment, compared with 48.8 percent when the recession began in December 2007.  Additional information about the new and redesigned tables is available on the BLS Web site.
     I would also note that there were annual adjustments to 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 administrative records of the unemployment insurance tax system. Accounting for revisions during the benchmark and post-benchmark periods, the previously published level of total nonfarm
employment for December 2009 was revised downward by 1,363,000. Household survey data for January reflect updated population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Further information about the impact of these adjustments is contained in our news release and on our Web site.

     Returning now to the labor market data we released this morning, the jobless rate declined to 9.7 percent in January, and payroll employment was essentially unchanged.
     My colleagues and I now would be glad to answer your questions.