On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released January’s jobs report and, as has been the case for some time now, the news was good. The economy added 257,000 jobs during the month. This exceeded general expectations that job growth would be around 230,000. Also, the strong numbers for both November and December were revised upward, with November now showing 423,000 jobs added and December coming in at 329,000. The unemployment rate showed little change as it sits at 5.7%.
Beyond steady job growth, there was plenty of other good news to glean from the report. One of the reasons the unemployment rate didn’t drop and actually raised a tad bit is due to the labor participation rate. Typically, conservative critics tend to dismiss the unemployment rate and jobs report from the BLS because they feel the numbers are skewed due to the number of people who have given up on working and dropped out of the labor force. (Much of the decrease in the labor participation rate over recent years is due to baby boomers retiring.) In January, the labor participation rate ticked up to 62.9%, leading to a slight bump up in the unemployment rate despite the number of jobs added.
Also, wages showed a decent increase in the month, as the average wage jumped up 12 cents an hour to $24.75. For the year, wages have increased by 2.2%, which is the level the Federal Reserve wants to see sustained before they decide to increase interest rates. In December, average wages had actually decreased by 5 cents an hour, so it is definitely nice to see the increase in January and the overall trend that wages are increasing, even if still not as quickly as most working- and middle-class workers would like.
Of course, not everyone welcomed this solid jobs report with open arms. As is typically the case, Fox News had to immediately put a negative spin on it. The image below from Fox & Friends Friday morning says it all.
Yep, the hosts on Fox’s poutrage morning show felt that the the real headline should be that the unemployment rate went up. No mention about the average job growth of 336,000 jobs over the past three months. Let’s not point out that wages are increasing. God forbid discussing the sustained private job growth we’ve seen under President Obama. Instead, let’s just have Steve Doocy end the segment by claiming that the real news is that the “unemployment rate ticks up to 5.7.”
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).