Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in January

The American economy gained 304,000 jobs last month. We need 90,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth, which means that net job growth clocked in at a healthy 214,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 4.0 percent.

The BLS does a comprehensive revision of the previous year’s numbers each January, and that resulted in a fairly large revision downward in December’s numbers. They’re now 90,000 less than was reported last month, so I guess the holiday season wasn’t quite as good as we thought.

Earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers increased at a miserly annualized rate of 1.6 percent in the month of January. With inflation running at about 2 percent, this means that blue-collar workers saw a pay cut of about 0.4 percent. Yuck. However, this is probably just making up for the huge upward spike last month. Year-over-year earnings increased 3.4 percent, or about 1.4 percent when you account for inflation. That’s not bad.

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