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A Boffo Jobs Report

Just when the economic news becomes troubling, along comes a jobs report from the Labor…

  • January 21, 2019

Just when the economic news becomes troubling, along comes a jobs report from the Labor Department that dazzles the sceptics. A jobs report that can only be described as awesome, boffo and fantabulous.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 312,000 in December, and the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent.

That headline number absolutely blew away the expectations of very smart people. No one expected to see more than 300,000 jobs added in December. In fact, the experts polled expected to see around 176,000 new jobs.

“But wait” you ask, “why did the unemployment rate go up?”

Good question. Would you believe that the higher unemployment rate is actually good news? It is, in the context of all the data.

An increase in the unemployment rate that happens during a time of robust job growth is a good indication that more people are actively in the workforce.

In fact, more people are participating in the job market: the labor force participation rate is up to 63.1 percent, which is about 0.4 percentage points higher than it was last December.

But wait, there’s more:

Wages rose by a robust 3.2 percent versus December 2017, and 0.4 percent month-over-month.

Not all of the economic news is good these days. There are many signs that the global economy is slowing. China, in particular, is showing signs of trouble. The latest U.S. manufacturing data contains some troubling signs.

Still, this December jobs report is a happy standout.

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