Jobs Thaw?

After the last two months of decidedly underwhelming jobs reports, the February edition released today by BLS was something of a pleasant surprise. The 175,000 net new jobs exceeded expectations (the consensus prediction was around 150,000), and there were small upward revisions of the December and January numbers.

As always, the unemployment rate will get more general-public attention than the jobs numbers, and the small and essentially meaningless uptick from 6.6% to 6.7% will be what most Republicans talk about.

The bigger picture is that economists are very conflicted about the impact of this winter’s unusually bad weather on the numbers, and what that might mean for the underlying strength or weakness of the economy. So there’s a great deal of anticipation of the March and April jobs reports as perhaps resolving some of those arguments.

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.