More good economic news today. Here is Lauren Kaori Gurley at The Washington Post:
The U.S. economy added 353,000 jobs in January, a shockingly strong pickup, even as higher interest rates continue to ripple through the economy.
The gains were roughly double economists’ predictions of 177,000, reinforcing that the economy remains firmly out of recession territory, with the labor market propelling the economy forward despite some high-profile layoffs at technology and media companies.
Robust consumer spending has allowed employers to hire at a rate that’s fast enough to keep up with population growth, and wages continue to outpace inflation, boosting workers’ spending power.
The jobs report is good news for President Biden, especially heading into the presidential election season, as several recent benchmarks, including strong GDP and falling inflation, suggest a booming economy that even consumers are starting to notice.
The strong job market and rising wages have made it possible for many households to keep shelling out — particularly on services such as hotels, travel and dining out — even at a time of elevated inflation, as consumer spending drives the economy.
Payrolls swelled across a variety of industries after months of job growth concentrated in a few industries. Professional and business services added 74,000 jobs in January, soaring past the sluggish average monthly gain of 14,000 jobs in 2023. Fueled by a rapidly aging baby boomer population, health care added 70,000 jobs, with the strongest gains in ambulatory health care, hospitals and nursing homes.
Read the rest here.
The Washington Post also has a companion piece on why groceries are still so expensive.