(Sorry, the site went down for a short bit.)
The very good news is that the December jobs numbers were revised upwards from 155,000 to 196,000. The fourth quarter was fairly strong, with around 200,000 jobs per month being generated in the US.
The January numbers are okay, but nothing particularly special at 157,000 new jobs (because our population is growing every day, you need about this money jobs created per month just to break even). Though I wonder if that number will also be revised upward as I sense that many companies picked up hiring in the US after the holidays. The downside to the report was that unemployment climbed slightly from 7.8% to 7.9%.
With the Republicans still playing games and pretending as though they won in November, the economy is hardly out of the woods. It’s an unfortunate reality that the GOP is more focused on disrupting the economy and spewing out nonsense than focusing on creating jobs.
Retail, construction, health care and the wholesale trade sector added positions, while the government again shed jobs. Government payrolls have been shrinking almost every month over the last four years.
The monthly jobs numbers were close to what economists had forecast, although many had been hoping for an upside surprise. Recent weeks have brought a slew of gloomy economic data, showing that the nation’s output unexpectedly shrank at the end of 2012 and that consumers were becoming increasingly pessimistic about their finances and job prospects.
Dysfunction in Washington over the fiscal budget and higher tax rates that kicked in last month could further dampen consumer confidence and hiring early this year.