I’d just published my last, rather dark and brooding post on economic trends when the sun burst from the clouds, at least for a moment, with the release of a January jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that not only exceeded expectations (which were glum), but actually has some mild good news across the board. The economy created 257,000 new private-sector jobs, and these were offset by a mere 14,000 reduction in public-sector jobs (much lower than it’s been). The net job increase figure was nearly double what most economists had predicted. The unemployment rate dipped to 8.3%. And the jobs numbers for November and December 2011, which were expected to be revised downward, were instead revised upward.
As WaPo economics reporter Neil Irwin tweeted: “That sound you hear is champagne corks in the West Wing.”