Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the January 2019 Employment Situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
For the 100th consecutive month, the labor market’s momentum continues to impress, even in the face of some significant concerns. Today’s jobs number is strong, even if tempered by a large downward revision to last month’s payroll figure. The shutdown injects some noise into this report, but it’s easily the most important economic data of the week, partly because President Trump’s shutdown has cancelled the advance GDP estimate we were supposed to get this week.
Assessing the full implications of the 35-day Trump shutdown is difficult, but assessing the impact of the administration’s broader economic policy is more straightforward. Trump’s huge tax cut for the wealthy is not trickling down to working households: Even if one squints very hard, neither the investment boom nor the wage growth that the tax cut was supposed to produce is showing up in the data. Higher interest rates have pushed up the cost of homes, cars, and other big-ticket purchases, slowing an economy that remains heavily dependent on consumer spending.
An erratic couple months of White House behavior has not helped. Since late December, the administration has floated the idea of firing the chairman of the Federal Reserve—which everyone agreed would backfire—and has attempted to boost confidence in banks, which also backfired in textbook fashion. At the same time, trade policy uncertainty has contributed to both slowing global growth and increasing concerns about a recession. We’re counting on the labor market to keep up this momentum, and it continues to deliver in the face of whatever the Trump administration throws at it.
Related resource: “The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-January 2019 Jobs Release” by Daniella Zessoules, Galen Hendricks, Michael Madowitz, and Olugbenga Ajilore
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