Unemployment Down to 5.6%

February 1, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Finally, the labor market trend has turned, with the unemployment rate dropping to 5.6% in January, according to the Department of Labor (DoL).

The jobless rate fell by 0.2% over the month, from December’s six-year high of 5.8%, surprising economists, who expected a modest increase in the figure.

The fall, the first in eight months, brings the unemployment rate to its lowest level since before September’s terrorist attacks accelerated its ascent.

Businesses cut 89,000 jobs from their payrolls in January, significantly lower than the average 311,000 jobs lost over the previous three months.

The DoL attributes much of the rate decrease to both seasonal movements, and new jobs in construction, air transportation and retailing offsetting layoffs elsewhere.