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The American economy gained 304,000 jobs last month. We need 90,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth, which means that net job growth clocked in at a healthy 214,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 4.0 percent.
The BLS does a comprehensive revision of the previous year’s numbers each January, and that resulted in a fairly large revision downward in December’s numbers. They’re now 90,000 less than was reported last month, so I guess the holiday season wasn’t quite as good as we thought.
Earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers increased at a miserly annualized rate of 1.6 percent in the month of January. With inflation running at about 2 percent, this means that blue-collar workers saw a pay cut of about 0.4 percent. Yuck. However, this is probably just making up for the huge upward spike last month. Year-over-year earnings increased 3.4 percent, or about 1.4 percent when you account for inflation. That’s not bad.