February 5th, 2010
09:55 AM ET
12 years ago

White House says latest unemployment figures 'encouraging'

(CNN) - Christina Romer, the Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Friday the latest unemployment figures show "encouraging signs."

"While unemployment remains a severe problem, today’s employment report contains encouraging signs of gradual labor market healing. The unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point and employment rose in a number of industries, though overall employment fell slightly," Romer wrote on post on the White House blog.

Full blog post after the jump:

While unemployment remains a severe problem, today’s employment report contains encouraging signs of gradual labor market healing. The unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point and employment rose in a number of industries, though overall employment fell slightly.

The unemployment rate declined from 10.0 percent to 9.7 percent. This decline occurred despite a modest rise in the labor force. The broadest measure of the unemployment rate, which includes all persons marginally attached to the labor force and workers working part time for economic reasons, fell almost a full percentage point. Obviously, the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high, and is even worse for certain demographic groups such as teenagers and black or African American workers.

Overall payroll employment declined 20,000 in December. This total reflects substantial variation across industries. Employment in manufacturing rose for the first time since January 2007, led by an increase in employment in motor vehicles and parts. Employment also rose in retail trade and in temporary help employment. Employment fell, however, in construction and state and local government.

Even as today’s numbers contain signs of the beginning of recovery, they are also a reminder of how far we still have to go to return the economy to robust health and full employment. Indeed, with the benchmark revision announced today, we now know that the total job loss over the recession was more than 1 million larger than previously estimated. That is why at the same time that he released a plan for reining in the budget deficit over the medium and long run, the President has called on Congress to enact responsible, targeted actions to jump-start job creation. His proposals for a small business jobs and wages tax cut and a new program to encourage small business lending are important steps to help the businesses that are essential to robust job creation. Today’s numbers showing continued decline in construction and state and local government employment emphasize the importance of two other of the President’s priorities—continued infrastructure investment and additional aid for strapped state and local governments.

There will likely be bumps in the road ahead. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative. It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and replace job losses with robust job gains.

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. deeman

    Did Pelosi put her foot in her mouth today or what? Republicans will probably use her flub to torpedo her reelection chances right before the final election.

    February 5, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Independent

    It is good to see unemployment lower and appreciate the honest recognition by the White House that we still have work to do together going forward.

    In contrast, it is truly sad to see Steele use this news to once again criticize with more negativity that helps nothing. Surely, we can do better.

    February 5, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. james Miller

    Next year it will be evident these figures were " inaccurate" due to something and didn`t show a true picture of how bad things really were.--– Whoever is in power always slant the results to their benefit. That`s why the TRUE job losses during the latter Bush days were hid.

    February 5, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Ok, lessee now.....in January we lost 480K jobs,.....but......the unemployment figures show a drop in unemployment.

    Who's lying?????

    February 5, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. Ohio D

    And unemployment filings will get better soon too... Cause my unemployment benefits runs out in 5 weeks. 🙁

    February 5, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. Lou

    Encouraging? The only reason the rate went down was that they stopped counting all the people who have run out of benefits and those too discouraged to look for work any longer. How about a little honesty for a change? Ah forget it. I should know better than to expect honesty from politicians. Left, right, up, down, in, out, Rep or Dem, it doesn't matter.

    February 5, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Jim

    I think people just need a little patience with this. The Republicans are trying to make it Obama's fault that people aren't back to work yet, but they don't seem to claim their due credit for the disaster that befell us. I think it will help a lot if we start reorganizing our energy systems in the US and produce most of it here.

    February 5, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Stallion

    The current administration continues to prove that socialist agendas do not work in this country. It is a major conflict of their interest to create jobs..........they have run out of people to blame now. Maybe they should go take a course in business management instead of overtaxing the wealthy

    February 5, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. Big John

    Just as President Obama said last summer, the economy is like trying to do a u-turn with an ocean liner...it just isn't going to happen, but given time and space you can turn an ocean liner around. 8 Years of the Bush regime is what we're trying to recover from. My thoughts are that the economy is improving, but it still needs a bit more time to fully recover. Patience and of course confidence is needed, we're going in the right direction.

    February 5, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Amazing, one year after passing a $1 trillion dollars "stimulus" bill, the unemployment rate drops three tenths of a percent and the adminstration is encouraged? They are so out of touch with reality.

    February 5, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Ryan

    If the unemployment numbers recede and the economy improves (which it has been people... so many of you completely forgot where we were this time last year!) – Then the republicans are going to freak the hell out.

    Because no rumor they spin, will be able to disprove the truth that Obama is one of the best presidents we've had in a long long time.

    February 5, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Sam Sixpack

    The total number of jobs went down, but so did the unemployment percentage. That means the number of people whose unemployment benefits ran out last week exceeded the number of people newly laid off. How is that encouraging?

    February 5, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Annie, Atlanta

    That's all fine and dandy, but how do you institute a jobs program when you have temper tantrum throwing Senators, with a personal agenda, in your way? Dodd is against financial reform (does he have a lucrative job waiting for him next year in the financial industry?) and Shelby is blocking ALL of the President's appointees until he gets the pork he has requested for the State of Alabama. Can we get rid of the senate? They're causing a lot of problems for us out here on Main Street these days? In the alternative, let's vote them out every time any one of them comes up for re-election. How about it, people? You in?

    February 5, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. taj

    great job OBAMA. you are doing a great job. the party of no(repubs) just want a win elections but you are ready to put your job on the line for me and my family and i respect that.

    February 5, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. JOE

    hang in there america! help is on the way. it will take time for the dems and our president to bring the country back from the brink. the democratic party has always had to clean up the fiscial mess of the GOP. i am much more comfortable with a party who actually trys to help things get better v.s a party who would just as soon watch your house burn down rather then put the fire out. THANK GOD we have president obama in the WH. God bless him and his family. keep up the hard work mr. president.!

    February 5, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Matt

    This jobs situation isn't going to fix itself overnight. I'm betting that no matter what the numbers show now or in the future, people who dislike Obama or Democrats in general are going to continue to complain about how it is their fault that we still have unemployment. You know who I'm talking about folks.

    February 5, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Juanta

    Excellently stated....I commend the Obama administration for working hard to turn this economy around......you've done well Mr. President and I can honestly say I have never been more proud to be an American, with you in office I can see potential, I understand the road ahead may be difficuilt at times but with smart, determined, and fair leadership we can all succeed.... thank you, thank you, thank you

    February 5, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. DWL

    I read Michael Steele's comment, the man is a buffoon and that is from an independent. I vote for the person not the closed mined parties.

    February 5, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Me

    Encouraging? Really? Because the unemployment "figures" went down without actually reducing unemployment? The economy shed 400,000 jobs in January but the unemployment figures are based on people who file for unemployment (many of which have had time expire or lost benefits when they took temp jobs) but you're encouraged are you? What a buffoon of a President.

    February 5, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Robert

    Jobs are always last to recover after any recession. It'll only get better going forward until the next bubble bursts.

    February 5, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Mike1952

    Nancy P. blasted Bush for unemployment rates much lower than Obama's, but is silent now. Isn't it odd that she touted the democrats as for the down-trodden and unemployed then, but now that the shoe is on the other foot and democrat policies are not helping the silence is deafening.

    Politics and our politicians are all so partisan they get nothing done of substance. Hopefully democrats and republicans will wake up and see this and vote these people out. We need average people in the Congress for a change, not these career politicians.

    February 5, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Hemlock For America

    Cue the paid republican anti-Obama bloggers response in 3.... 2... 1.... telling us how this is insignificant etc.

    February 5, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. Kat

    Do they think we're that stupid? Their numbers are always inflated to make them look good. Just look at the numbers they use in the number of jobs "saved" or created by the stimulus. I don't fall for this crap.

    February 5, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Vic of New York

    So what was that the good senator from Mass-ACHOO-setts said?

    "The stimulus has not created a single job!"

    Good job Connecticut, ahh... Mass-ACHOO-setts, you really picked a smart one!

    February 5, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    "Encouraging" That sounds like Obama talk after we have spent $1 trillion giving it to the worthless and lazy unions and all of the other Obama supporting organizations. After one year they have lowered (at least temporarily) the rate by three tenths of 1 percent. Oh lord, I hope this country can survive another three years of this bumbling, inept, incompetent, out of touch administration by these Chicago thugs.

    February 5, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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