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Friday, February 01, 2013

Economy adds 157,000 jobs in January, jobless rate ticks up to 7.9 percent

The economic consensus was just about right, with 157,000 jobs added in January and the unemployment rate rising slightly to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent.

The report shows that the economy has been adding enough jobs for the past few months to keep the unemployment rate steady but not enough to bring it down significantly since the end of the summer. What it also showed were some surprises on the upside.

The initial reading on the December report was a 161,000 jobs increase. The revised number says that 247,000 jobs were actually created that month. The same thing occurred with the previous month, with the revised number showing a 41,000 jobs increase. For the entire year, there were more than 335,000 jobs created than what was originally reported. The average monthly jobs gain in 2012 was 181,000, which was pretty flat compared to the 175,000 average in 2011.

The work participation rate remained the same from the previous month.

For those wanting more. The report can be found here.

This is what the bloggers over at the Wall Street Journal are saying about the report.

Here's the quick rundown by Marketwatch.com.

Another fun fact just saw: Every year of the Obama presidency, the number of government jobs has fallen, including 77,000 last year, 317,000 in 2011, 213,000 in 2010 and 76,000 in 2009 - which came on the heels of at least 5 straight years of gains.

The question now is if we still should focus on immediate debt and deficit reduction or try to find ways to juice the economy in the short-term - or at least move out of its way. There are solid arguments to be made either way. My position is for us to lock in longer-term reforms in entitlements and the tax system while holding off on immediate cuts, because reform is where the real savings are any way, and a stronger economy now will take care of a lot of the deficit problems.

What's yours?


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