Alan Kreuger, WH: 243K
New Jobs Created - Unemployment Falls to 8.3%
February 3, 2012
The U.S. says its labor market surged last month, with nearly a quarter
million workers added to company payrolls, and that its unemployment
rate fell to 8.3 percent, the lowest in almost three years.
In its closely watched monthly report, the government said Friday that
243,000 jobs were added to the economy, a month after the world's
largest economy recorded 200,000 new jobs. The January figure — the
biggest addition in nine months — substantially exceeded the early
estimates of economists. Analysts said the report signaled that the
sluggish U.S. economic recovery might be advancing at a faster pace than
The jobs report and the jobless rate have perhaps become the two biggest
barometers of the sluggishly advancing American economy. Central bank
chief Ben Bernanke said this week that the recovery from the nation's
2007 to 2009 recession, its worst economic downturn in seven decades,
has been been “frustratingly slow” and is likely to advance by no more
than 2.7 percent this year.
"The pattern is definitely indicating
the economy is improving," Alan Kreuger, chairman of President Obama's
Council of Economic Advisors, said.
But the January jobs report — and the unexpected drop in the jobless
rate from December's 8.5 percent rate — also could boost the re-election
prospects for President Barack Obama, a Democrat seeking a second
four-year term in the national election next November. The two leading
contenders seeking the Republican nomination to oppose him — one-time
venture capitalist Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich —
have regularly unleashed verbal assaults on the president's handling of
the economy, calling for less government regulation of American
corporations as a way to boost the country's economic fortunes.
Analysts say the additional number of U.S. jobs the last two months are
a sign the American economy is growing at a time when some other
economies across the globe, such as in Europe, have virtually stalled,
or slowed, as is the case in China and India.
with the additional jobs added to the labor market in January, the U.S.
has fallen far short of replacing the 8.7 million jobs lost in the
recession. About 13 million workers remain unemployed, while millions
more have stopped looking for work and are not factored into the monthly
The state of the U.S. economy has become the prime issue in the emerging
presidential campaign, with many voters saying they disapprove of the
way that President Barack Obama has overseen the recovery.
Mr. Obama has said that without the still-controversial economic boost
the government provided some American corporations during the worst days
of the recession, the national economy would be in worse shape. The
country's housing market has been particularly troubled, with millions
of unemployed homeowners losing their houses to bank foreclosures when
they could no longer make their monthly loan payments.