Another Solid Jobs Report

In another sign of how differently news is perceived in a non-election year, the January jobs report came out this morning at 8:30 AM just like it always does–and I forgot about it, in part because it didn’t jump out as big screaming news on the aggregators I use to keep up.

At any rate, here’s the quick summary from Wonkblog’s Neil Irwin:

The economy began the year with solid job creation, and the labor market was much stronger at the end of 2012 than previously thought, according to new data out Friday that indicated surprising momentum in the economy in the new year.

Employers added 157,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department said, which was right in line with analyst expectations. The brightest news, though, was that revised estimates showed much higher job creation at the end of last year than first reported. The nation added a whopping 247,000 jobs in November and 196,000 in December, a combined 127,000 jobs above earlier estimates.

So despite the supposed widespread panic over the “fiscal cliff,” and the legendary “uncertainty” that is supposedly keeping trillions in profits locked away, and the undoubted deep depression of “job creators” everywhere about the re-election of an actual Marxist as president–the economy’s doing reasonably well, particularly given the drag of public-sector austerity (the BLS report showed a net reduction in public-sector jobs of 9,000 in January).

I haven’t turned on Fox News yet for my daily punishment, but I’m guessing the worthies there will (a) focus on the tiny uptick in the unemployment rate from 7.8% to 7.9%, which is a meaningless change attributable to variable workforce participation; and (b) will find some way to make the jobs report a lot less important than the 4th Quarter GDP numbers released earlier this week. But hard as it is to believe sometimes, reality still matters.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.