The Hill has an interesting story: 5 takeaways on a surprisingly strong jobs report.
“The U.S. economy added 517,000 jobs in January, more than doubling Wall Street expectations and turning up its nose at prognosticators of an imminent recession. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent, the lowest level since 1969. Analysts were expecting it to move in the opposite direction, ticking up to 3.6 percent.”
Yes, I was expecting U-3 unemployment to increase to 3.6% as well. What happened? Seasonal adjustments (BLS doens’t provide non-seasonally adjusted data). But the shocking headline (mostly due to seasonal adjustements) was not as surprising if we consider that jobs added in January grew at 3.309% year-over-year. Well, THAT isn’t all that surprising. Particularly since The Fed is slow walking its shrinking of The Fed balance sheet.
And with over 100 MILLION not in the labor force (apparently, the US labor force never really recovered from the Wuhan China virus), the U-3 unemployment rate touted by the media is misleading.
Bear in mind that employment is a LAGGING indicator. For example, the unemployment rate was 4.7% in November 2007 just prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 Great Recession. So Biden’s bragging about the lowest unemployment rate since 1969 is meaningless in predicting recessions.
So, the January jobs report isn’t as surprising and strong as talking heads screamed about. I wish BLS would release non-seasonally adjusted (raw) data. But since we have a dysfunctional Federal government, I am not holding my breath.
And I wouldn’t consider averrage hourly earnings growth YoY of 4.42% when headline US inflation is 6.42% particularly brag worthy.
Of course, Biden lied about inheriting inflation from Trump. Inflation was 1.28% YoY in December 2020 just before Biden was sworn-in as President. Then again, Biden lies about everything. At least he just refused to comment on the Chinese Spy Balloons.