Oh No And Hooray, It's Another Strong Jobs Report! This Is Excellent Terrible News For Joe Biden!
Nonfarm payrolls up by 223,000 in December, better than predicted.
Another first Friday of the month, and another jobs report from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the final monthly jobs report of 2022, the economy added 223,000 nonfarm jobs in December, making 24 straight months of jobs gains. The unemployment rate also dropped two tenths of a percent, to 3.5 percent, the lowest point it had reached prior to the pandemic.
As part of its special 43-page year-end assloads of data and methodolog y report (the monthly reports are usually just two or three pages), the BLS even led off with a couple of charts showing unemployment going way up in spring 2020 and then declining, and monthly job gains going the other way: Off a cliff, then finally, by summer of 2022, back to pre-pandemic levels, and since then, a little higher.
December's 223,000 new jobs were a skosh better than the 200,000 predicted by Dow Jones economists, and the unemployment rate was also a bit better than the prediction, which had unemployment holding at the November rate of 3.7 percent. The report also revised November jobs gains downward by 7,000, from 263,000 to 256,000, which is not a big change.
The overall trend in recent months has been slowing growth in new jobs, which seems to reflect the Federal Reserve's interest rate increases aimed at curbing inflation. That was also reflected in wage growth, which cooled a bit, up just .3 percent for December, a 4.6 percent increase over December 2021.
CNBC explains that the report pleased the stock market, which sometimes is not pleased by strong jobs numbers, but can be fickle, like a toddler spitting out food that a week ago made her smile.
Stock market futures rallied following the release as investors look for signs that the jobs picture is cooling and taking inflation lower as well.
Somehow, November's better than predicted jobs report resulted in a 200-point drop in the Dow that day because the Fed was likely to raise interest rates. This month, not so much. The stock market, we'll remind you, is not the economy.
Ready for the confident analysis by an economist? Sure you are! Drew Matus, a strategist with MetLife Investment Management, told CNBC,
From the market’s perspective, the main thing they’re responding to is the softer average hourly earnings number. [...] People are turning this into a one-trick pony, and that one trick is whether this is inflationary or not inflationary. The unemployment rate doesn’t matter much if average hourly earnings continue to soften.
Ah, so that's the difference. We feel so much more informed now! Also, here is a pony who also likes science, but only if it is not the dismal one. (By friend of Wonkette "PixelKitties" )
In conclusion, if Dok's getting distracted and posting My Little Pony pics, it's probably time to stop talking about the economy before he decides a "soft landing" for the economy would have something to do with Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, and a bedroom made of clouds, the end.
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