While the turn of the year did not bring immediate relief to the job market, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation for January did show a return to job growth following December’s net negative trend. Employers added 49,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%. Notable gains occurred in professional and business services and in both public and private education, and the number of individuals on temporary layoff decreased to 2.7 million, 18 million below last April.
This time last year, we were experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. The effects of the pandemic have set us back nearly 10 million jobs, so while it may feel discouraging to not see an immediate decrease in unemployment rate, any positive change is noteworthy.
Promising economic growth is still forecast for this year, and many economists think January will be the last month of slow gain. COVID-19 numbers are decreasing globally for the third week in a row, showing variants of the virus can be controlled. Over 42 million COVID-19 vaccination doses have been administered in the US, and president Biden’s administration has set a goal of 150 million vaccines in his first 100 days in office.