January Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.3 Percent as 243,000 Jobs Are Added


"December was about 100,000 above the other two [months] in the ADP report, so if we discount December, which may be off due to seasonal factors, the last two months averaged 190,000" new jobs, said Bronars. "If we weren't coming out of a recession where 8.8 million jobs were lost, adding 190,000 [jobs] would be a solid monthly gain," he continued. "In our current situation, it is good, but not great."

Reading the Latest Employment Tea Leaves

Applications for unemployment benefits for the week ending Jan. 14, dropped by 50,000, the steepest decline in six years, according to the Labor Department .

While it is clear that employment has been growing steadily, compared to previous recoveries, the pace is much slower, Bronars said.

"It's frustrating because the stock market, GDP comeback and employment is growing but we lost a lot of jobs and only regained a small fraction of what was lost," he said. "We are still trying to dig ourselves out of this downturn in the labor market and that's the thing holding us back."

Can Facebook Help?

And, despite the good earnings and IPO news coming out of Silicon Valley from companies like Apple and Facebook, there has been little discernible impact on the job market.

"The number of people who work at Apple in the U.S. is just not enough to make a dent in the problem here," said Bronars. "If you have the skills that companies in the tech sector are looking for – the designers or software engineers—it's been a pretty good job market all along."

Meanwhile, he said, jobs in manufacturing and construction have yet to come back.

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