Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Economist Michael Madowitz released the following statement today on the December 2016 employment situation figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS.
The final employment report of the Obama administration showed the U.S. economy adding 156,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. Entering office in the middle of the Great Recession, President Barack Obama leaves the presidency with an impressive gain of 15.5 million jobs since the employment recovery began in February 2010. The steady tightening of the labor market continues to produce gradually rising wages for workers, with wage growth of 2.9 percent over the past year. These are extremely important statistics to remember given the flurry of news headlines that resulted from President-elect Donald Trump’s boastful, half-truth tweets about his own job creation efforts. Furthermore, the president-elect is fortunate to inherit an economy that is in far better shape than the one handed to President Obama when he took office eight years ago.
The Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, raised interest rates in mid-December, as members signaled confidence in the health of the economy. Minutes from the meeting and remarks by Chair Janet Yellen show that the Federal Reserve is very uncertain about the fiscal policies that will be adopted by the incoming Congress and administration. One scenario about which they must be worried has already been proposed by those about to assume control of Congress: a program of large tax cuts for the wealthy, which would do little to support aggregate demand in the present while severely reducing the fiscal capacity of the government and putting pressure on financial markets. If this outcome is not avoided, the problems faced by monetary policymakers will be become much more difficult than they need to be.
Related resource: The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-January 2017 Jobs Release by Michael Madowitz, Annie McGrew, and Gregg Gelzinis
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