February Jobs Report: No Winter Blues This Year

So the February Jobs Report is out, and it’s about as positive as one can reasonably expect. Net new jobs were up by 295,000, well over expectations, and making it twelve straight months of job gains exceeding 200,000. The official unemployment rate–as I always note, the number most Americans focus on–dropped to 5.5%. Pretty much every other indicator–notably workforce participation and wages–was more or less flat, which isn’t necessarily good news in itself but will be ammunition for those discouraging the Fed from hiking interest rates in the very immediate future.

You can expect Republicans either to ignore this report, or to pursue their latest strategem of focusing strictly on workforce participation numbers and arguing that Obama has expanded the welfare state so much that people feel no particular compunction to work. It’s total hooey, but that’s how they keep finding the gradually filling glass still mostly empty.

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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.