Employment Situation Across USA – January 2016 (Household & Establishment)

Updated : February 16th, 2017

Its that time of the month where we unveil statistics about the unemployment situation in the USA. As a part of of our ongoing series to bring to you, latest information from the world of unemployment, let’s go ahead and uncover key facts and figures on the unemployment situation during January. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S Department of Labor made public, its monthly release titled “THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JANUARY 2016” on February 5, 2016.  

The overall unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent complemented by addition of 151,000 jobs during the entire month. The slight reduction in the national average is welcomed since it happened during first month of 2016. Industries such as retail trade, manufacturing, healthcare made significant job gains during this month while transportation and warehousing, private educational services witnessed job losses.

Unemployment Rate Among Major Workers Groups

  • Adult Men – 4.5%
  • Adult Women – 4.5%
  • Teenagers – 16.0%

Rates in the categories of adult men and women have been showing sustainable improvement over the last couple of months while the jobless rate among teenagers remains a concern as it goes up gradually by each passing month.

Unemployment Rate Among Ethnic Groups

  • Blacks – 8.8%
  • Asians – 3.7%
  • Whites – 4.3%
  • Hispanics – 5.9%

Except the “Whites”, rest of the ethnic groups have registered fall in unemployment rates over the last few months.

General Highlights

  • The number of people falling in the category of “long-term unemployed”(2.1 million) remained stagnant at the end of January 2016. This category consists of citizens who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more, accounted for a little over 26.9 percent of the total unemployed persons in the country.
  • At 59.6 %, the employment-population ratio showed no changes from the last month. Since October 2015, it has gone up by 0.3 percentage points.
  • The number of involuntary part-time workers was 6.0 million at the end of January, down by a whopping 796,000 when compared to the same month last year. People falling in this category could not work full time due to involuntary reasons such as reduction in the standard full time hours by the employer.
  • A little over 2.1 million people fell in the category of marginally attached to the labor force, not much difference year on year. Persons in this category had not made job searches in 4 weeks preceding this survey.

Employment Data in Various Industries (Top Highlights)

1) Retail trade led the bandwagon by adding the highest number of jobs across all industries. This sector added 58,000 jobs in January 2016 from being nearly stagnant in December last year.

  • General Merchandise Stores – +15,000 (Biggest gainer in this industry)

2) A surprise entrant in the biggest gainers category was food services and drinking places, where employment rose by 47,000 jobs. From January 2015, it has added a little over 384,000 jobs.

3) Due to routine seasonal layoffs, employment in private educational services went down by 39,000 jobs.

4) The transportation & warehousing industry saw a slump of 20,000 jobs during this month.

  • Couriers & Messengers -14,000 (Biggest loser in this sector)

Other Highlights

  • At the end of January 2016, the average workweek for all employees was 34.6 hours, up by 0.1 hour.
  • The average hourly earnings for all employees was $25.39, up by 12 cents. The average earnings has steadily risen by 2.5 percent over the year.
  • The average hourly earnings for employees in production and nonsupervisory rolls edged up by 6 cents to $21.33.


  1. I have been working as an hourly employee for the last 4 months. Currently the board of the nonprofit agency came to me and told me that I had to file a 1099 or go to part time or find a new job. I have a scheduled time that I report to work. What are the laws here in Florida about who can receive a 1099

  2. I am unemployed and currently going to a community college. How can I apply for federal assistance?

    1. Carol,

      If you’re able and available for full-time employment, you can directly go to the website of the Unemployment Office and apply.

  3. I have worked in AZ since March 2016. However, I moved lived and worked for my employer in CA since 08/02/1982. Can I apply for Cali unemployment benefits?

    1. Robert,

      You should be applying from the state where your employment was based. Employers generally remit unemployment taxes to the state where the employee is based.

  4. I have been trying for over a month to file and I still do not seem to be able to do it, but I finally got to the correct place, I think.

  5. Cumberland NJ Unemployment Center kept me on hold for 2 hours; I finally had someone answer my call, after providing my information and question regarding the status of my NJ Unemployment Claim the representative disconnected my call.

  6. Excellent list of things to help execute better. Even taking 3 or 4 of these that one does not currently utilize could help immensely.

    1. How did you calculate the total weekly Illinois benefit of $1495? Also, why isn’t Washington and Minnesota listed in your top 5 states with the highest paid unemployment insurance compensation?

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