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More Americans Are Looking for Jobs, and Finding Them

Despite an uptick in the unemployment rate, this morning’s jobs report showed reassuring strength, as a million people entered the workforce in January alone. The report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes after a number reports have suggested weakness in some parts of the economy in recent weeks.

Today’s report shows that people who had been sitting on the sidelines are now feeling more confident they can get back in the game and find work. The report showed 62.9 percent of working age Americans are either looking for a job or have one. “People wouldn’t be out there looking for jobs if they didn’t think they would get one,” said Bob Hughes, senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research.

Despite that good news, the unemployment rate increased from 5.6 percent to 5.7 percent in January, because the surge of new people entering the workforce included 291,000 people who had not yet found jobs.

The million new jobs were from a BLS survey of households. In a separate BLS survey, businesses reported they added 257,000 new jobs in January, bringing the total new jobs for the past 12 months to 3.2 million.  In addition, after falling 0.2 percent last month, average hourly earnings, or wages, rebounded 0.5 percent in January. Over the past 12 months, wages are up 2.2 percent.

“It’s reassuring to see a good report after what appeared to be a little bit of a soft patch in the economy,” Hughes said.

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