Prosperity: January Jobs Report Beats Expectations With 200K Jobs Added, Wages Grow at Fastest Rate in Years

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Posted: Feb 02, 2018 1:30 PM
Prosperity: January Jobs Report Beats Expectations With 200K Jobs Added, Wages Grow at Fastest Rate in Years

Somewhere, Nancy Pelosi is chewing the inside of her cheek as she glares icily at a life-size Donald Trump 'FatHead' decal she's plastered onto the ceiling over her bed.  Yes, friends, the news for the US economy and American workers is that good.  In all seriousness, the January jobs report isn't a blockbuster, but it's pretty "robust" across the board.  The two major takeaways, via the Associated Press, whose reporting of simple facts has been causing fits on the Left this week:


Reuters adds some color:

U.S. job growth surged in January and wages increased further, recording their largest annual gain in more than 8-1/2 years, bolstering expectations that inflation will push higher this year as the labor market hits full employment...Nonfarm payrolls jumped by 200,000 jobs last month after rising 160,000 in December, the Labor Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate was unchanged at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent in January to $26.74, building on December’s solid 0.4 percent gain. That boosted the year-on-year increase in average hourly earnings to 2.9 percent, the largest rise since June 2009, from 2.7 percent in December...The robust employment report underscored the strong momentum in the economy...Economists say job gains are being driven by buoyant domestic and global demand...

The story says that because the US economy is approaching full employment, the new tax law provided "little boost to job growth" last month.  But wages are a different story:

Job growth is expected to slow this year as the labor market hits full employment. Companies are increasingly reporting difficulties finding qualified workers, which economists say will force some to significantly raise wages as they compete for scarce labor.  Wage growth last month was likely supported by increases in the minimum wage which came into effect in 18 states in January. They probably also got a lift from the tax cut. Companies like Starbucks Corp and FedEx Corp have said they will use some of the savings from lower taxes to boost wages for workers.  Further gains are expected in February when Walmart raises entry-level wages for hourly employees at its U.S. stores.

The 'end of the world' has arrived, and it feels...pretty great, actually.  By the way, lots of conservatives are excitedly sharing the Atlanta Fed's projection that 2018's Q1 economic growth number will surge past five percent, which would be a monster quarter.  It's heartening that multiple economic indicators and data points have convinced some very smart people that the nation's economy is truly booming, but here's a word of caution: The New York fed's estimate for Q4 of 2017 was quite robust, and the actual number ended up falling well short.  Bottom line: The fundamentals are unquestionably healthy and Americans are feeling good.  Just how strong the economy is remains to be seen.  I'll leave you with Ed Morrissey's typically evenhanded analysis of the fresh jobs report: