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US unemployment rate at lowest level since 1969, data indicate

Explaining August Jobs Report
Posted at 8:45 AM, Feb 03, 2023

The U.S. unemployment rate reached its lowest level in more than five decades in January as employers added 517,000 jobs in January, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 3.4% in January, marking the lowest the unemployment rate has been since 1969. The unemployment rate is down .1% from last month.

Workforce participation, which is the combined number of people currently employed and those on unemployment, has essentially remained unchanged over the last year at 62.4% after dropping during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January 2022, there were 1.6 million Americans who had been on unemployment for over half a year. As of January 2023, there were 1.1 million Americans.

The robust job figures come as the Federal Reserve has attempted to tame the economy with rising interest rates to offset inflation. The federal reserve raised interest rates for the eighth time in a row this week.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has indicated the Federal Reserve's goal is to get inflation to drop to 2%. As of December 2022, the inflation rate was 6.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The rise in interest rates, however, has prompted fears of a recession, which can bring about job losses.

Average hourly wages are up $1.40 from a year ago, going from $31.63 in January 2022 to $33.03 last month.