The US unemployment rate dropped .2% to 8.3% in January. This is the lowest level of unemployment since February 2009. Greatly influencing this decline, the labor force participation rate fell .3% to 63.7%. This means an increased number of people stopped looking for work entirely. On the positive side, 243,000 jobs were added to the total nonfarm payroll. The median duration of unemployment increased .1 weeks while the mean decreased .7 weeks.
Even with a slightly lower unemployment rate, it is still a severe problem. As of this month, more people are unemployed for more than six months than people unemployed less than six months in the spring of 2007.
For more information, see our employment report.
-From the St. Louis Federal Reserve and the Bureau of Labor Statistics