Political Animal


February 01, 2013 10:57 AM Another Solid Jobs Report

By Ed Kilgore

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 is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Gandalf on February 01, 2013 11:30 AM:

    God speed and protect you for putting youirself through the purgatory of watching Fox news with any regularity. I had a conversation in a bar last night with a couple guys who are regular Fox news watchers and they were convinced that the country was going to implode because of all the takers (their term not mine). They believed that the whole financial system was headed for ruin and that the Chinese would soon have us all working as slaves.

  • schtick on February 01, 2013 11:34 AM:

    Not to worry, the teapubs will adjust or do away with jobs reports in the future. We can't have any good news with a dem as prez.
    Speaking of which, I can remember Bush giving a monthly jobs report he thought was good news. We lost almost as many jobs in our state for the month as he was so glowingly promoting.

  • c u n d gulag on February 01, 2013 12:17 PM:

    Now, get set for the Republicans to double-down on demanding austerity.

    The economy slowed down in the 4th Quarter of last year, but, a solid jobs report kind of takes the sting out of that.

    So, now the Republicans will do everything they can to slow the economy down even more, so that the jobs picture worsens, giving them anti-Obama and anti-Democrati talking points to help them hold the House, and maybe take the Senate, in '14, and the Presidency in '16.

    President Obama and the Democrats have to keep the pressure on the potential splitting points in the Republican Party - immigratation, and taxes.

    Keep the pressure on for immigration reform, and MORE revenue, via taxes, Democratic boys and girls!!!

    The Republicans don't care about the country - only power.

    Party over country!

  • Cas on February 01, 2013 8:31 PM:

    "Another Solid Jobs Report"

    I guess this is an example of the bigotry of low expectations, when we think that 150,000 jobs created is "solid." With more solid reports like that, we can expect zero decline or slightly rising unemployment... right on into the ever-receeding future...