The longer you spend with January’s employment report—released Friday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS—the more you will like it. But just how long that good feeling will last depends on the Federal Reserve.
You could read just the top-line numbers of the report and go home perfectly happy; but this report really gets impressive when you dig deeper into the data. Strong job gains for November and December were revised upward to be even stronger. The noisy month-over-month wage-growth number was excellent, while wages were up 2.2 percent for the year. Most importantly, the economy added another quarter million jobs, even as all four measures of the unemployment rate went up. The addition of new jobs and even more new job seekers means that there is more room to grow before inflation becomes a problem. This is not only surprising; it’s great news—particularly if you’re hoping policymakers don’t choke off a recovery before it gains steam.
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