'Astonishing': Economists React To Monster January Jobs Report On Twitter
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 517,000 jobs in January, significantly topping expectations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%. It has remained at or below 3.7% since the end of the first quarter of 2022.
There were notable job gains in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 128,000 jobs in January, including 99,000 jobs at food services and drinking places. The entire sector grew on average by 89,000 jobs per month in 2022.
The construction sector added 25,000 jobs in January after averaging 22,000 jobs per month of growth in 2022. Retail trade added 30,000 jobs in January after showing little net growth in 2022.
Here's how economists and others reacted to the jobs report on Twitter.
wow— Daniel Zhao (@DanielBZhao) February 3, 2023
Dang— Guy Berger (@EconBerger) February 3, 2023
About that recession...— David Wessel (@davidmwessel) February 3, 2023
so is the economy, like, kinda good?— Emily Stewart (@EmilyStewartM) February 3, 2023
JUST IN: The US economy gained an astonishing 517,000 jobs in January – much better than expected.— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) February 3, 2023
Unemployment rate: 3.4% --> Lowest in decades.
Wages: +4.4% for past year (up 0.3% in January)
Bottom line: This is NOT an economy in recession
Revisions were also quite positive, and December was revised up by +37k to +260k while November was revised up by +34k to +290k.— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) February 3, 2023
These call into serious question any notion that the economy has been slowing.
Average job growth over the past 3 months is a cracking +356k. A boom!
The best news in this report is upward revisions to previous months. The job market has been even stronger than we realized in the past and even so inflation moderated— Betsey Stevenson (@BetseyStevenson) February 3, 2023
Where were these 517,000 job gains in January?— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) February 3, 2023
Professional biz +82,000
Gov't +74,000 -->half is from returning strike workers
Social assist +21,000
Big employment growth in leisure and hospitality at 128k jobs added (above the 2022 monthly average of 89k jobs/month)! The sector went from being 5.5% below it's pre-pandemic level to 2.9%. #JobsReport— Kate Bahn (@LipstickEcon) February 3, 2023
Pivoting to construction numbers: Residential building construction employment is up 3.5% YoY, while nonresidential picked up by 4.9%. Residential building is up 11.6% compared to pre-pandemic, while nonresidential building just surpassed pre-pandemic levels this month. (9/n) pic.twitter.com/HgWtb44j9u— Odeta Kushi (@odetakushi) February 3, 2023
The tech sector layoffs have dominated the news making this report confusing for some. Put it in perspective: tech sector layoffs have been rounding error on the normal month to month layoffs that happen in the economy.— Betsey Stevenson (@BetseyStevenson) February 3, 2023
It's not like the tech/media layoffs aren't evident in the jobs report; the information sector lost 5k jobs, with declines in publishing, broadcasting, and computing infrastructure/data/processing/web hosting.— Neil Irwin (@Neil_Irwin) February 3, 2023
It's just that 5k isn't a hill of beans in an economy with 155m jobs.
517,000 jobs— Megan Greene (@economistmeg) February 3, 2023
AHE falls to 4.4%
Avg hours worked up
If we were to design a report to support the Fed’s immaculate disinflation narrative, this would probably outdo it.
Wage growth is cooling even with large payrolls gains & the lowest unemployment rate since 1969. Powell has said that he sees rapid wage growth, particularly in the labor-intensive services sector, as the biggest impediment to bringing inflation down to the Fed’s 2%target. (4/n)— Odeta Kushi (@odetakushi) February 3, 2023
If the Fed is determined to restore the 2% inflation that (roughly) prevailed before the covid recession, the best-case scenario is exactly what we’re seeing—nominal wage growth slowing but inflation slowing even faster. 3/— Heidi Shierholz (@hshierholz) February 3, 2023
Before anyone tries it, multiple job holders as a share of employment actually declined slightly in January. The rate looks normal relative to where it was before the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/EL9vO7DdUD— RenMac: Renaissance Macro Research (@RenMacLLC) February 3, 2023
Like $20 bills on the sidewalk and free lunches, falling inflation combined with falling unemployment is supposed to be the stuff of economics fiction— Julia Pollak (@juliaonjobs) February 3, 2023
Presumably this wild payrolls number involves statistical noise or mismeasurement.— Neil Irwin (@Neil_Irwin) February 3, 2023
But the overall narrative of "extremely robust job market" is supported by establishment and household surveys, claims, JOLTS, anecdata. Just no question about the fundamental labor market story.
In sum this is a surprisingly strong report by any measure. Some of it likely quirky seasonal adjustments, but nothing can change the basic picture for January of a very strong labor market— Dean Baker (@DeanBaker13) February 3, 2023
In sum,— Aaron Sojourner (@aaronsojourner) February 3, 2023
- continued strength in labor market, surprisingly strong job growth & lowest unemployment rate in 54 years,
- a few mixed signals, such as slight wage growth deceleration & tick up in part-time for econ reasons,
- any month's estimates noisy & esp this one.