Economic Snapshot: Unemployment and job openings remain unchanged

The unemployment rate and the number of job openings were both little changed this month. The report reflects the last month of data under former President Barack Obama.

Employment situation

The number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were little changed in January, at 7.6 million persons and 4.8 percent, respectively.

The number of long-term unemployed was essentially unchanged at 1.9 million and accounted for 24.4 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 244,000. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was little changed at 5.8 million in January.

In January, 1.8 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 337,000 from the previous year. Among the marginally attached, there were 532,000 discouraged workers in January, little changed from a year earlier.

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose 3 cents to $26.00, following a 6-cent increase in December. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. In January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $21.84.

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JOLTS

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.5 million on the last business day of December and the job openings rate was 3.6 percent. Job openings increased in other services (+50,000) and federal government (+13,000) but decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-85,000).

The number of hires was essentially unchanged at 5.3 million in December and the hires rate was 3.6 percent. Hires decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-33,000) and in mining and logging (-7,000).

Total separations were at 5.0 million in December, little changed from the previous month, and the separations rate was 3.4 percent. Separations decreased for government (-37,000) and state and local government education (-28,000).

Among separations, there were 3.0 million quits in December, little changed from November, and the quits rate was 2.0 percent. Quits decreased in state and local government education (-14,000).

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