Surprising Jobs Data Show Jobless Down But So Are Payrolls

Stocks opened up, sold off, then staged a big rally late to end higher. The Dow rose 0.1%, the S&P 500 0.3% and the Nasdaq 0.7%.

Job losses in the recession have been much worse than previously calculated, new benchmark revisions showed. The U.S. has lost 8.4 million jobs since the start of the slump. The old estimate was 7.2 million.

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The jobless rate is based on the separate household employment survey. That showed a huge gain of 541,000 jobs last month, the best in nearly five years.

“The pace of job losses has slowed pretty substantially and new hiring is just beginning to pick up,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James.

But, he added, “it’s still consistent with this idea that the recovery is going to be pretty gradual.”

The economy grew at a 5.7% annual rate in Q4, the biggest gain in six years, the Commerce Department said on Jan. 31. But the bulk of that was due to firms paring inventories at a slower pace. [Read the full article]

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