The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its January employment report this morning. For the first month of 2013, the U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate remaining going up a tenth of a point to 7.9 percent. With the new year, the BLS has revised its numbers for 2012, so while the 157,000 jobs would have beat the previous average for job growth for 2012 (153,000 jobs per month) by last month’s calculations, the number is below the new average of 180,000 new jobs added per month for last year.
November’s employment numbers were revised up by a staggering 86,000 jobs (from 161,000 to 247,000), and December’s numbers were revised up by 41,000 jobs (from 155,000 to 196,000). Seeing this trend leaves hope that next month the January numbers will be revised up as well.
The architecture and engineering services segment of the economy lost 300 jobs in January. That’s a disappointment after the 3,800 jobs added in December, the 2,400 jobs added in November, and the 1,500 added in October. This contradicts slightly the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index, which in December had shown growth in architecture billings for five straight months, albeit at a slower rate than the growth seen in November or October.
The construction industry had another good month for job growth as well. After adding 30,000 in December, the construction industry added another 28,000 jobs in January. (This number of new construction jobs is nearly twice that reported on Wednesday by ADP and Moody’s Analytics. This is the first time in four months that the BLS report has come in stronger for the construction industry than has their report.) Most of the new construction jobs went to trade contractors (residential and nonresidential), who posted 26,000 new jobs in January. Residential building construction saw a small 700 new jobs and Nonresidential new building construction actually lost 2,000 jobs.
But the news if much better when you take into account the BLS’s revisions of last year’s data. Since hitting a low in January 2011, the construction industry has added 296,000 new jobs, and a third of that gain happened in the last four months alone. This is not nearly enough jobs to make up for the 2 million construction jobs lost since the peak of the construction bubble, but it is a promising start.