The January jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to show that employers have ramped up hiring as layoffs have continued to drop into the New Year. Unemployment aid has hit a five-year low as many industries, such as health care, retail, and restaurants are steadily hiring. However, national job growth has remained relatively flat as the unemployment rates hovers at a still high 7.8 percent.
Overall, the national economy is not growing fast enough to spur impressive hiring rates and consumer spending is restrained by flat pay and a stagnant unemployment rate. The most recent consumer spending data from Q3 2012 showed that it was rising at only 1.6 percent annually. The economy outpaced spending at 3.1 percent during the same period thanks to temporary production boosts. The general consensus is that growth will be seen to have fallen below 2 percent for Q4 2012 due to low consumer demand.
First time unemployment applications fell by 5,000 for the week ending January 19 to reach 330,000, the fewest in five years. The four-week average was also at a near five-year low. Weekly applications have fallen for two consecutive weeks suggest rising job gains.
In December, manufacturers added the most jobs in nine months while retailers posted notable gains for three months and restaurants/hotels continued to exhibit healthy hiring since last summer. Health care companies contributed almost 30,000 jobs per month in 2012 which accounted for nearly 20 percent of the overall total. The construction and housing sectors are also expected to accelerate hiring soon as new home construction rose to a four-year high in 2012.